New paper published in Nature Medicine: CRC scientists identified a mechnism which decomposes excess cholesterol
13 June 2017
Scientists around Prof. Jörg Heeren, head of the CRC project B6, were able to identify a mechanism in the liver, by which the organism can efficiently decompose excess cholesterol into bile acids in order to render them harmless. If the temperatures drop, people have more appetite and therefore eat more and more rich food. Thus, the body is supplied with sufficient energy necessary for the maintenance of the body temperature. However, fat-rich food also contains a lot of cholesterol, which is not used by the body to generate energy and can damage cells in excess.
“We already know for a long time, that low temperatures lead to increased heat production in the brown adipose tissue. Because this process requires a lot of energy, cold can be used as a therapy option for the treatment of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes or the inflammatory fatty liver”, Prof. Heeren states. Now, the scientists were able to demonstrate for the first time, how the activation of the brown adipose tissue stimulates the liver to increasingly convert cholesterol into bile acids. “This interestingly happens by a metabolism pathway that has not been characterized in detail so far. And which is – unlike the known cholesterol degradation pathway – not switched off via bile acids. In this way, the body can also consistently excrete excess cholesterol in the form of bile acids under the influence of cold and the associated increased food intake”, Heeren says.