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Approved Research

Understanding the genetics of brown adipose tissue and its role in cardiometabolic health

Principal Investigator: Professor Roland Stimson
Approved Research ID: 73342
Approval date: October 7th 2021

Lay summary

Obesity is a disease caused by eating more calories than we burn over a long period of time, which causes weight gain that results mostly in too much fat in our bodies. Obesity causes other diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and increases the chance of developing heart attacks an strokes among other conditions. There is though another type of fat in our bodies called brown fat. While the normal fat in our body, called white fat, is there mainly to store energy, brown fat burns energy to keep our bodies warm when we're in the cold or after eating. There is a large variety in the amount of brown fat that people have and the reasons for this aren't fully understood. People with obesity and and older people though have less brown fat than younger thinner people and it's possible that having brown fat can protect you developing certain diseases. To try and identify why some people have much more brown fat than others, we plan to investigate a large number of people to measure how brown fat they have. We'll then find out if there are any genes that predict which people have a greater amount of brown fat and whether this also protects them from developing certain diseases. This may help us work out the genes that control how much brown fat we can grow which may allow us to develop new treatments to increase peoples' brown fat as a new treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes and to reduce the chances of them developing other diseases.