Tech UPTechnologyFat cells also have a biological clock

Fat cells also have a biological clock

The discovery is important because it can shed light on how human metabolism changes over a 24-hour period and explain why the body processes food differently during the day and at night.

The finding is the responsibility of a research team led by Dr. Jonathan Johnston, from the University of Surrey (United Kingdom). These scientists have found that the cells that make up our fat tissue (adipocytes) have their own internal clock, which helps set their circadian rhythms and influences basic metabolic functions.

Isolated and under observation

To reach this conclusion, Johnston and his colleagues collected body fat samples from seven volunteers who, after following a routine of rigorous schedules for several days, were completely isolated from the outside. The idea was that they would not know if it was day or night and they would see their circadian rhythms disturbed, which respond to a great extent to the light changes that occur throughout the 24 hours.

It should be remembered that disorders of the biological clock have been linked in numerous investigations to health problems and a greater probability of being obese. Misadjusting it is very harmful to the body.

In their isolation, the study subjects spent 37 hours undergoing a routine in which they did not experience the daily cycles of light-dark, sleep-watch and food-fast. Biopsies were performed every six hours to remove adipose tissue and analyze the expression of genes related to body fat.

The researchers found that changes caused by these genes occurred in adipocytes, and that these changes were independent of external factors such as light and diet. They underwent specific chemical processes at specific times, regardless of what was eaten or when one rested.

According to Johnston, a specialist in chronobiology, “this is the first time that this type of rhythm has been identified in human fat. Adipose tissue is not only used to accumulate excess energy, it plays an important metabolic role ”. And knowing your internal clock can help develop therapies for problems like obesity.

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