Removing a key protein prevents fat from being stored around major organs, including the heart, a new study suggests.
The research, carried out by a team from The University of Edinburgh and published in Diabetes, claimed that removing the protein PHD2 produced new blood vessels that facilitated a healthier storage of fat. This could potentially reduce obesity, thus reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Dr Zoi Michailidou, of the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cardiovascular Science, says: “Medicines are being tested that may enable safe storage of fat in patients whose conditions, such as cancer, have an uncontrolled loss of fat tissue, causing problems for their therapy.
“By understanding how such medicines may improve blood supply, we hope to find strategies for treating fat storage problems, and may even inform new ways to tackle obesity.”
Obesity is caused by fat tissues growing too quickly for blood vessel growth to keep up, which leads to the suffocation of fat cells. This triggers the release of lipids that attack major organs. Removing PHD2, however, has a significant, beneficial effect on the way the cells develop.
The research could lead to new treatments for a number of serious conditions, including heart disease, liver damage, obesity, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

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