GC-1 Turns White Fat Into Brown Fat

Experimental Drug Turns White Fat Into Brown Fat

New research shows that the experimental drug GC-1 dramatically increases the metabolic rate, essentially converting white fat into a fat like calorie-burning brown fat.

San Diego, California – An experimental drug causes loss of weight and fat in mice, a new study has found. The study results will be presented Friday at the Endocrine Society’s 97th annual meeting in San Diego.

Known as GC-1, the drug reportedly speeds up metabolism, or burning off, of fat cells.

“GC-1 dramatically increases the metabolic rate, essentially converting white fat, which stores excess calories and is associated with obesity and metabolic disease, into a fat like calorie-burning brown fat,” said study author Kevin Phillips, PhD, a researcher at Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston.

Until several years ago, scientists thought that only animals and human infants have energy-burning, “good” brown fat.

“It is now clear,” Phillips said, “that human adults do have brown fat, but appear to lose its calorie-burning activity over time.”

White adipose tissue, or fat, becomes a “metabolic villain,” as Phillips called it, when the body has too much of it. Some published research shows that people who have more brown fat have a reduced risk of obesity and diabetes. Researchers are now working on ways to “brown” white fat, or convert it into brown fat.

GC-1 works, according to Phillips, by activating the receptors for thyroid hormone, which play a role in regulating metabolism—the body’s conversion of food into energy. Thyroid hormone receptors also help with adaptive thermogenesis, in which the body converts excess energy (calories and fat) to heat.

Phillips said he and other researchers at Houston Methodist Research Institute have tested the drug in hundreds of mice, with partial research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Obese mice, both genetically obese and those with diet-induced obesity, received GC-1 treatment daily.

Genetically obese mice lost weight and more than 50 percent of their fat mass in approximately two weeks, Phillips reported. Treated mice also showed antidiabetic effects, such as a sixfold improvement or better in insulin sensitivity (how well the body clears glucose from the bloodstream). He said mice with diet-induced obesity experienced similar improvements.

The drug also induced adaptive thermogenesis in fat cells isolated from mice. Cells grown in culture in a dish, as well as tissue samples taken from obese mice, showed evidence of white-fat browning.

“Our data demonstrate that GC-1 is a novel fat-browning agent that may have use in the treatment of obesity and metabolic disease,” Phillips said.

The drug has not yet undergone testing for weight loss in humans. GC-1 is being tested in clinical trials for lowering cholesterol, under the name sobetirome. However, Phillips said the doses of sobetirome used in the cholesterol-lowering studies are much lower than what would be needed for weight loss.

Source: The Endocrine Society

Image: Fat Cells from white adipose tissue from Shutterstock

2 Comments on "GC-1 Turns White Fat Into Brown Fat"

  1. Madanagopal.V.C. | March 10, 2015 at 7:08 am | Reply

    White fat and brown fat are like fixed term deposits and savings deposits kept in a bank where, one first utilises savings deposits for their daily use and later depends on fixed deposits. Here too for day to day metabolic activity of man, one uses brown fat which easily burns calories required and the white fat which is mainly stored in belly, hips or thigh is used once the person goes into hunger and in extremely starving conditions. Once starving conditions reverses or the exercise one gives up himself , soon only white fat gets replaced for future use. If no starving conditions are given and if one uses only gradual reduction in diet, the brown fat alone will be used and replaced slowly if conditions reversed. So it is a good attempt to convert white fat into brown fat which will easily get used and thereby weight loss can be achieved. Thank You.

  2. This information is based off a press release before any data has been seen by anyone and is not peer reviewed. This is a classic example of science by press release and caution should be used.

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