Human skin cell to cure obesity, finds study

In a new finding, researchers have successfully converted human skin cells into appetite controlling neurons which they believe can cure obesity, one of the most common disease today. The human skin has the potential to cut weight, say scientists.

The study led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), found that cells provided individualised model for studying obesity and testing treatments.

To convert the skin cells into neurons researchers genetically reprogrammed human skin cells to turn it into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that can grow into adult cells when provided with a specific set of molecular signals in a specific order and in controlled conditions. The iPS cell technology isn’t new; it has been previously used to create a variety of adult human cells including forebrain neurons, insulin-producing beta cells and motor neurons.

For the study, researchers experimentally determined which set of molecular signals to use in specific order to transform iPS cells into arcuate hypothalamic neurons, a type of neuron that can control appetite hence obesity. The entire procedure took nearly 30 days.

Scientists found that the newly created hypothalamic neurons had the ability to accurately process neuropeptides. Moreover the cells actively responded to metabolic signals including insulin and leptin.

However, more research is required to confirm the study and find the effects of hypothalamic neurons on obesity, but the study in initial stages gave promising results. If the technology gets approval from the authorities, then it might help the millions of obese to cut the weight.  Obesity has become most common disease today, especially our youth seems to suffer from obesity the most. Moreover, obesity is the root of several other diseases including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Thus, we need several other such researches to come out with a potent solution against obesity.

The study appeared in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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