Newsweek Cover Story Examines Fat Cell Research and Obesity
The cover story of the Aug. 23 issue of Newsweek examines research on the biochemistry of fat cells, which may hold "clues" to both their "tenacity" and the diseases related to obesity, such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Fat cells produce about six chemical messengers. Such messengers include thrombotic agents such as plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, which blocks anticoagulants and helps blood clot; vasoconstrictors such as angiotensinogen, which increase blood pressure; inflammatory agents, which may contribute to heart disease; and anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, fat cells secrete estrogen, which research has linked to certain forms of cancer, such as breast cancer. Tumor necrosis factor alpha and resistin -- two compounds produced by fat cells -- also appear to affect the operation of insulin, which may help explain the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers also have begun to study how the hormones leptin and ghrelin affect appetite and metabolism (Underwood/Adler, Newsweek, 8/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.