such as "Introduction", "Conclusion"..etc
With obesity still on the increase, it appears that the main weapon in
the fight against it - reducing energy consumption by eating less - is
ineffective. There is evident need to search for new treatment
strategies dealing with the opposite aspect of the energy balance:
increasing energy consumption. Researchers at Maastricht University
have now found a way to increase cells' energy consumption:
PhD candidate Sander Wijers and his colleagues Patrick Schrauwen,
Prof. Wim Saris and Wouter van Marken Lichtenbelt have shown that this
process occurs naturally in human skeletal muscle cells when exposed to
mild cold. They carried out muscle biopsies on 11 lean, healthy male
subjects both under normal and mild cold conditions. Their results
could lead to the development of drugs that stimulate mitochondrial
uncoupling, and thus contribute to obesity treatment.
Fats and sugars are broken down in the mitochondria, or energy
factories of the cells. ATP - the energy source used, for example, when
muscles contract and for many other cellular processes - is formed
using the energy released in this process. In some cases, such as when
exposed to cold, not all the energy released from sugars and fats is
used to produce ATP; stored energy is used for heat, reducing the
availability of ATP for cellular processes. This phenomenon is called
mitochondrial uncoupling. Fats and sugars are still broken down in the
uncoupled mitochondria, but the energy released is not entirely used
for cellular processes. More energy is therefore required to carry out
the same physical functions.
Further genomic and proteomic research is required to identify the
proteins responsible for uncoupling in skeletal muscle mitochondria.
The animal proteins UCP1, UCP2, UCP4 and UCP5 detected in tests appear
not to exist in human muscle tissue. And although UCP3 is found in
human muscles, it seems to be involved primarily in fatty acid
metabolism, not in mitochondrial uncoupling.
Reference: Wijers SLJ, Schrauwen P, Saris WHM, van Marken Lichtenbelt
WD (2008) Human Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Uncoupling Is Associated
with Cold Induced Adaptive Thermogenesis. PLoS One 3(3): e1777.
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