You are what you eat when it comes to fat, report scientists from McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) in the journal Science Advances.
Dietary fats are converted into lipids, which make up the membranes that surround all living cells.
The type of fat a person consumes may determine whether stem cells are converted into bone cells or fat cells, said Ilya Levental, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and assistant professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
“The fats that we consume such as cholesterol, unsaturated fats and fish oil become robustly incorporated into the membranes of our cells and dramatically change the composition and function of those membranes,” said Levental, a Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar.
To test their theory, Kandice Levental, Ph.D., the study’s lead author and assistant professor of integrative biology and pharmacology at McGovern Medical School, measured the lipid content of mesenchymal (connective tissue) stem cells as they transformed into bone cells or fat cells.
The Leventals found that bone cell membranes had unique compositions, being particularly high in a type of dietary fat, omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. This fat is also called DHA and is the most abundant component of fish oil, a common dietary supplement. Most importantly, they found that adding such fish oil fats to mesenchymal stem cells pushed them to transform into osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) as opposed to adipocytes (fat-storing cells).
This fundamental research helps explain why fish oil might benefit people with osteoporosis, a bone weakening disorder. More broadly, it may provide insight into the many connections between dietary fats and a variety of clinical outcomes, including healthy aging and heart disease.
“Our investigations suggest a general mechanism by which dietary fats affect cellular physiology through remodeling of membrane lipidomes, biophysical properties and signaling,” the authors wrote.
UTHealth coauthors included Joseph Lorent, Ph.D.; Yong Zhou, Ph.D.; CPRIT Scholar Jeffrey Chang, Ph.D.; and John F. Hancock, M.B., BChir, Ph.D. Also contributing to the paper were Michael A. Surma, Ph.D., and Christian Klose, Ph.D., of Lipotype GmbH in Dresden, Germany, and Allison D. Skinkle, an undergraduate researcher from Rice University.
The study, titled “ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids direct differentiation of the membrane phenotype in mesenchymal stem cells to potentiate osteogenesis,” was supported by CPRIT (R1215), NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences (1RO1GM114282) and the Volkswagen Foundation (93091).
Chang, Hancock and Ilya Levental are on the faculty of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Hancock is the John S. Dunn Distinguished University Chair in Physiology and Medicine at UTHealth.
When a forest fire decimated more than 3,000 acres of Rice University-owned timberland in 2011, biogeochemist Carri… https://t.co/VlIosD22us
ICYMI: #Clinicaltrial finds high response rate to combination targeted therapy for #AML patients: https://t.co/OUEnKFjXUB #leusm #endcancer
Music to play again at national cemetery https://t.co/K0iVwIjb8j via @MuskogeePhoenix
Today's #VeteranOfTheDay is @USArmy Veteran Clarence Beavers https://t.co/pjmPMWhQkL #WWIIvet
U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsVeteransAffairs
Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Clarence Beavers. Clarence was born in Harlem in 1921. His maternal grandparents had been escaped slaves, and his gran...
RT @NYUDocs: Do you have cold hands or medical condition known as #Raynaud’s? The Dermatology Show w/ Dr. Michael Whitlow talks to @UTHealt…
New Helena Veteran Center to provide variety of health services https://t.co/7yPfJmct4b via @KXLH
Tips for managing medicines during #cancer treatment: https://t.co/asqYUm87aH #endcancer https://t.co/JDMoEBb3yo
#RiceUniversity lecturer debuts video installation at Day for Night festival | https://t.co/tnSD2MMwtO https://t.co/PxhhM7frI5
RT @RobertKlemko: My story on Texans OL David Quessenberry's first visit to MD Anderson Cancer Center as a visitor instead of a patient, wi…
These new #ForeverCoogs 🐾 really CAPtured our attention 🎓 https://t.co/MsRwvycfnr
Harris Health SystemHarrisHealthSystem
Santa brought some holiday cheer to Quentin Mease Hospital this afternoon when he surprised patients and staff with early presents!
Harris Health System@harrishealth
Santa brought some holiday cheer to Quentin Mease Hospital this afternoon when he surprised patients and staff with… https://t.co/OQZ6amWcL5
Work out your body & your brain.