New Model for in Vitro Production of Human Brown Fat Cells Lays Groundwork for Obesity and Diabetes Cell Therapy

Brown fat cells (Credit: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News; David Gregory and Debbie Marshall)

Brown adipocytes are specialized cells that can use energy to produce heat. This property makes them attractive tools for the treatment of diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes. Until recently, this therapeutic potential was constrained by limited understanding of how brown adipocyte tissue (BAT) develops from precursors. A team led by investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital identified a set of cellular signaling cues that lead up to brown adipocyte formation in mice. They then used these cues to develop a protocol that efficiently produced human brown adipocytes in vitro.

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