A recent study has revealed that, a compound present in red wine, grapes and other fruits has the ability to block the cellular processes that stimulates the development of fat cells and thus can be used to find new methods to control obesity.
According to the study made by Purdue University, the compound piceatannol
resembles in structure with resveratrol which is thought to fight diseases like
cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.
After consumption, resveratrol is converted to piceatannol in humans.
"Piceatannol actually alters the timing of gene expressions, gene functions and insulin action during adipogenesis, the process in which early stage fat cells become mature fat cells," Kee-Hong Kim, an assistant professor of food science said.
"In the presence of piceatannol, you can see delay or complete inhibition of adipogenesis", he said.
In a period of 10 days or more, the immature fat cells, called preadipocytes, passes through several phase to become mature fat cells called the adipocytes.
"These precursor cells, even though they have not accumulated lipids, have the potential to become fat cells," Kim said. "We consider that adipogenesis is an important molecular target to delay or prevent fat cell accumulation and, hopefully, body fat mass gain."
Kim found that, at the first stage of adipogenesis, piceatannol binds to the insulin receptors of immature fat cells and thus, blocking the ability of insulin to control cell cycles and activate genes that are responsible to carry out further stages of fat cell formation. Piceatannol blocks the pathways essential for the immature fat cells to get mature and grow.
Piceatannol is one among the various compounds that are being studied in Kim's laboratory due to its potential health benefits. It is found in the in red grape seeds and skin, blueberries, passion fruit, and other fruits in different amounts.
Kim confirmed his recent finding that was based on a cell culture system with the use of an animal model of obesity.
"We need to work on improving the stability and solubility of piceatannol to create a biological effect," Kim added.
The details of the study have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
-With inputs from ANI.
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