Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have identified a new molecule that may help fight obesity and other metabolic diseases by converting 'bad' fat to 'good' fat.
New research suggests that activation of a chemical called Beta-LGND2 by the estrogen receptor Beta (ER-Beta) reduces obesity and metabolic diseases in mice by converting bad or white fat to good or brown fat.
This is significant as brown fat increases metabolism and may facilitate weight loss.
"Although there is a general misperception that obesity is not a life-threatening condition, obesity is the underlying cause for several diseases that could result in mortality," said Ramesh Narayanan, researcher at the University of Tennessee in the US.
"Safe and effective treatment for obesity is highly needed, and targeting ER-beta might be one of the strategies to safely combat obesity," he said.
To make their discovery, Narayanan and colleagues used three groups of mice. One group was fed with normal rodent diet, while two groups were fed with high-fat diet (HFD) to make them obese.
One of the two HFD-fed groups was treated with vehicle, while the other HFD-fed group was treated with beta-LGND2.
Beta-LGND2-treated mice were significantly leaner than the other mice fed an HFD. Beta-LGND2-treated mice had higher body temperature and oxygen consumption, indicating higher metabolism rate.
The research was published in The FASEB Journal.