A promising experiment by Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and University of North Carolina researchers is based on a microneedle skin patch. This injects small amounts of a browning agent that converts white fat to brown fat. This was placed onto the skin of obese mice on just one side of their abdomen. In turn, the scientists put an empty patch on the other side. The research team applied new patches every three days over four weeks. Two empty patches were given to the control mice.
The fat on the side of the body with the patch was reportedly reduced by 20 percent. This suggests, according to the team, that the fat reduction and metabolic changes were due to an increase in browning.
White fat is known to store excess energy in big droplets. Brown fat is like “baby fat” with smaller droplets and a high number of mitochondria that give the brown color and act like a mini-furnace to generate heat and keep a baby warm.
Unfortunately, that good fat generally disappears with age. Researchers are trying to bring it back with this fat-shrinking patch. One should lead to more pockets of unwanted fat being burned and possibly even dissolving love handles.
The Microneedle Patch Can Reduce Love Handles and so Much More Besides Them?
Li Qiang, Ph.D., is the study co-leader and an assistant professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia. Li noted that current clinically available drugs that promote browning expose the entire body. This is because they must be given as injections or pills. In turn, this can lead to side effects like weight gain, stomach upset, or bone fractures.
This skin patch seems to alleviate those complications by delivering the drugs directly to the fat tissue in a sustained way rather than spreading them through the body.
The microneedle patch could also be used to treat disorders such as diabetes and obesity. They might also be able to raise the body’s overall metabolism. According to the study results, the treated mice had lower fasting blood glucose levels compared to the untreated mice.
Presently, the microneedle patch has yet to be tested on humans. However, the team hopes that it will eventually offer a noninvasive alternative to liposuction for the reduction of love handles. So the study group has already submitted a patent for the nanoparticle-containing patch technology.
Current study findings are available in the journal ACS Nano.
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