Imagine that you could lose body fat without going on any particular diet or exercise – it seems impossible, right? Even scientists were surprised by what they discovered by pure chance: Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, who were looking for a cure for type 2 diabetes, stumbled upon a potential breakthrough treatment for weight loss. While it was previously thought that to lose weight you had to be in a calorie deficit, scientists discovered that there may be another method.
image credit: Sandy Millar/Unsplash
Scientists were applying treatment to a group of lab mice in hopes of finding a way to fight type 2 diabetes , but the experience took an unexpected and incredible turn: the mice began to sweat fat through the skin. Researchers began to see “a gooey substance” spurting out of the skin of the mice. “They shone in the light,” even said the lead researcher. The mice that received the treatment were thinner and shiny, and no one could figure out why or what the substance was around them.
When the researchers analyzed it, they discovered that it was in fact sebum: the treatment for type 2 diabetes had created another reaction: it made the mice start to sweat. the fat of their skin, losing weight quickly and without “sacrifice”. The treatment in question is based on thymic stromal lymphopoietin(TSLP), a small protein that activates immune cells controlling inflammation. The researchers then packaged the TSLP with an adenovirus vector and injected it into mice. This treatment led them to lose weight quickly by secreting sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced by the glands of the skin and contains many lipids. During the study, the mice lost half of all of their adipose tissue, including visceral fat, which is the hardest to shed and the most dangerous.
image credit: i yunmai/Unsplash
Can you imagine the implications and scope of this study? While many people are constantly struggling to lose weight, TSLP therapy may be the answer. Scientists are currently working on implementing this research and it is not known whether the method could be generalized in the future. What is certain, however, is that it must be studied in humans. The researchers hope is to translate the chance discovery in mice into effective therapy for humans.
source used: sciencemag