UMass Medical School cardiologist Marcus P. Cooper, MD, assistant professor of medicine, appeared on Fox-TV 25 Boston on May 8 to discuss the latest research into brown adipose tissue, otherwise known as brown fat. His research focuses on discerning and manipulating transcriptional pathways that reduce obesity, such as those active in brown fat.
Prevalent in newborns, brown fat provides protection and warmth to babies who have difficulty regulating their temperature. Brown fat contains numerous smaller lipid droplets and a much higher number of (iron-containing) mitochondria than regular fat. This gives the tissue a distinctive brown color and also gives it the unique ability to burn calories from normal fat.
Researchers such as Cooper are investigating the process by which the mitochondria in brown fat burn calories from fat, with the hope that the process might be used to curb diabetes and obesity in adults.
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UMMS expert: Increasing brown fat could promote weight loss