Published: Mon, September 18, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

New Skin Patch 'Melts' Fat In Obese Mice

New Skin Patch 'Melts' Fat In Obese Mice

Researchers have come up with a skin patch that can melt fat and boost the body's metabolism.

To promote fat burn, a lot of research has been done on how to turn an adult's white fat into brown fat-a process they call "browning"-which this new skin patch has been shown to successfully achieve in mice. It is demonstrated that this patch reduces treated fat pad size, increases whole body energy expenditure, and improves type-2 diabetes in vivo in a diet-induced obesity mouse model".

People have white fat that stores excess energy, while brown fat burns to produce heat.

Researchers have been searching for a way to transform white fat into brown fat, which is more common in newborns and protects the body from cold temperatures.

"There are several clinically available drugs that promote browning, but all must be given as pills or injections", said study co-leader Li Qiang, Ph.D. However, they can also cause unwanted side effects like weight gain, bone fractures and stomach trouble.

The new skin patch works differently in that it delivers most drugs directly to the fat tissue, which alleviates complications.

To apply the treatment, the drugs are first encased in nanoparticles, each roughly 250 nanometers (nm) in diameter-too small to be seen by the naked eye.

The centimetre-square patch contains dozens of microscopic needles that painlessly inject the drug.

"The nanoparticles were created to effectively hold the drug and then gradually collapse, releasing it into nearby tissue in a sustained way instead of spreading the drug throughout the body quickly", said Zhen Gu, associate professor at North Carolina State University in the US.

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During trials, patches containing two compounds - either rosiglitazone (Avandia) or beta-adrenergic receptor agonist (CL 316243) - were stuck to obese mice.

After four weeks, mice saw a 20% reduction in body fat where the patch was applied.

However, the researchers said their experiments on mice showed this could be avoided by using a patch.

Scientists at Columbia University Medical Center in NY trialed the gadget on mice and discovered they lost 20 for each penny of fat on the treated side contrasted with the untreated side.

Mice treated with either of the two drugs experienced a 20 percent reduction in fat on the treated side compared to the untreated side.

Upon conducting genetic analyses, the researchers likewise found that the treated side had more genes linked to brown fat, suggesting that the "melting" of fat can be attributed to the browning process.

It would also be an effective way to treat disorders like obesity and diabetes.

The study is titled "Locally-Induced Adipose Tissue Browning by Microneedle Patch for Obesity Treatment".

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