Heart talks to fat

Health Watch

Obesity is a huge killer of Americans. A new study at Temple University shows that the human heart can actually help the body reduce fatty tissue.

Walter Koch is a senior investigator. He says, “What that means is the heart releases factors or substances that travel through the blood and communicate at a cellular level with fat cells.”

Researchers say this ‘conversation’ could be the route to reducing obesity.

Koch adds, “By manipulating certain enzymes in the heart, you can manipulate this and change these factors and change obesity when animals are fed a high-fat diet.”

The study shows that when the enzyme g-r-k-2 is turned up or down, fat adjusts.

K says, “When that enzyme was inhibited, the animals got super fat and when it was higher, they were lean.”

Research mice genetically engineered with the enzyme inhibited only in heart muscle cells did worse than the other mice, who didn’t gain as much weight after being fed a high fat diet.

Koch says, “These mice with only their heart changed gained about three times as much.”

Ken Gresham with Temple University says, “The idea that the heart can communicate with fat and tell it how much energy it’s using and things along those lines are very interesting.”

Apump we can’t live without that might help us in ways we never imagined.

Professor Koch’s lab also found that when mice eat high-fat diets, the enzyme g-r-k-2 increases in the heart, which is the same thing that happens in humans when they go into heart failure.

Researchers say they will continue to investigate what other parts of the body the heart is talking to.

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