Fat Busters!

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Science  28 May 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5675, pp. 1213
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5675.1213b

Blood vessels are needed to support human tissues, and white adipose tissue is no exception. In fact, the formation of new blood vessels, a process called angiogenesis, spurs the expansion of white adipose tissue. Now Kolonin et al. show that destroying the supporting blood vessel network for white fat cells promotes loss of white adipose tissue in obese mice. The authors identified a specific marker for blood vessels that feed white adipose tissue, prohibitin. Using in vivo phage display, they identified a prohibitin-binding peptide, which was then linked to a proapoptotic peptide. Mice that were obese as the result of being fed a high-calorie diet were injected with the chimeric peptide. After nearly 1 month of treatment, white fat mass was reduced and normal body weight was restored without toxic side effects. Because human prohibitin is similar to the mouse molecule, it may be possible to design obesity therapies based either on the targeted delivery of drugs to fat or on the selective destruction of fat-associated blood vessels. — LDC

Nature Med. 10.108/nm1048 (2004).

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