The new fat cells arise from stem cells in the bone marrow that travel through the blood stream to fat tissue. They are termed bone marrow progenitor-derived adipocytes. The discovery also revealed that male and female subjects accumulate the new fat cells differently. The research also may help to explain the link between types of obesity and heart disease and other illnesses.
The findings by Dwight J. Klemm, PhD, and Susan M. Majka, PhD, are reported this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America.
“Our results explain why the accumulation of fat in certain body locations harms health,” Klemm said.
According to Majka, the research “may identify ways to prevent those adverse effects as people age or gain weight.”
The body stores energy in fat – either white or brown cells. But over time too much fat can cause health issues. Previously, the researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus had traced certain fat cells back to bone marrow. It appeared likely that a type of stem cell (the hematopoietic cell) was getting into the blood stream and settling somewhere else.