A 'replace me' signal from dying brown fat fires up weight loss – Nature.com

Weight loss

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Katrien De Bock is in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich 8603, Switzerland.
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Christian Wolfrum is in the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich 8603, Switzerland.
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Almost 60% of adults and nearly one-third of children in Europe are overweight or obese (see go.nature.com/3bsIjrd). Beyond lifestyle interventions, effective therapies to reduce obesity mostly involve surgery, so new, less-invasive strategies are required. A type of fat known as brown adipose tissue (BAT) is currently the subject of interest as a target for weight-loss intervention, because it burns calories by releasing stored energy in organelles called mitochondria and converting it to heat — a process called thermogenesis1,2. Evidence indicates that the activity of BAT is associated with reduced weight and improved metabolic health1. Writing in Nature, Niemann et al.3 outline a previously unknown regulatory pathway governing the activity of BAT that could potentially be targeted for therapeutic weight loss.

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The authors declare no competing interests.
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