Improving our understanding of the effects of obesity on individual cells can significantly prevent some of its harmful effects, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers at Harvard who study the molecular structure of cells that are in a state of stress associated with obesity have noticed changes in their architecture that can be corrected, with “amazing” results that restore them to healthy metabolic function.
More information on the mechanisms that cause adverse health effects from obesity can suggest new ways to manage this condition and prevent its consequences. We have seen some interesting advances in this area that show how next-generation drugs can be used to prevent development high cholesterol, insulin resistance and diabetes. The Harvard team behind this latest breakthrough began by studying fatty liver disease, another common disease caused by obesity.
The team took liver samples from healthy lean mice and obese mice with fatty liver disease and turned to a variety of advanced technologies to study them in detail. This included a combination of artificial intelligence, deep learning, and high-resolution imaging using ion beam scanning electron microscopy.
This led to a three-dimensional reconstruction of multifunctional structures in liver cells called organelles, which allowed them to compare diseased specimens with healthy ones at the molecular level. The images used by scientists are in fact the most detailed visualizations of these subcellular structures intact in their normal tissue environment.
“For the first time, I was fascinated by the complexity, beauty and harmony of the designs in the extremely tight interior space of the chamber,” said study author Gohan Hotamyshligil. “It’s like watching an artistic masterpiece while traveling to the center of the camera.”
The images showed that organelles in obese mice with fatty liver disease showed significant changes in molecular architecture compared to healthy specimens. The team was then able to partially patch up these changes using technology used to recover molecules and proteins. This resulted in the repaired cells looking normal, showing significantly improved metabolism and remaining stress-free.
“The result was really amazing – when the structure is restored, the cell’s metabolism is restored,” Arruda said. “What we’re describing here is a whole new way of controlling metabolism by regulating the molecular architecture that is critical to health and disease.”
Scientists view this discovery as a basis for therapeutic agents targeting this mechanism as a way to treat metabolic diseases such as fatty liver disease, but it can also be used to determine the vulnerability or resistance of an overweight person.
“Chronic metabolic diseases, which include obesity, diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and liver disease, are the biggest public health problems in the world,” Hotamyshligil said. “The fundamental regulatory mechanism we have identified can be used to assess people’s susceptibility – or resilience – to a disease condition such as obesity, and to determine which steps, such as diet, nutrients or starvation, will reduce, eliminate or worsen these states. We can imagine a whole set of therapeutic strategies aimed at molecular architecture, similar to restoring a diseased building or preventing its demolition. ”
The study is published in the journal Nature.
Source: Harvard University
Restoration of the structures of the cells changed at adiposity, restores metabolic functions
Source link Restoration of the structures of the cells changed at adiposity, restores metabolic functions