September 22, 2008
Aging Vascular System Increases Weight Gain?

Endothelial cells in blood vessels prevent stem cells from becoming fat cells.

INDIANAPOLIS The cells lining blood vessels are known to be important for maintaining health, but researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine believe these cells may perform an unsuspected task controlling the development of fat cells. Their findings are reported in the September issue of the journal Stem Cells.

The researchers found that precursor or stem cells have a markedly reduced tendency to develop into fat cells when placed in direct contact with healthy endothelial cells, which are the cells that line blood vessels.

"The key to this discovery was our recent observation that these cells, also known as adipose stromal cells, in fat tissue are in very close contact with endothelial cells in small blood vessels and capillaries," said Keith L. March, M.D., Ph.D., co-principal investigator of the study and director of the Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine (ICVBM).

Maybe (this is just a hypothesis) aging blood vessel endothelial cells cease to tell stem cells to not become fat cells. Then more fat cells get made and we become fatter.

"What we don't know yet is how the formation of fat cells influences the blood vessel lining cells. Our current hypothesis is that endothelial dysfunction promotes fat cell development, accompanied by new blood vessel growth. We hope to soon be able to interrupt this cycle," said Dr. Clauss.

So maybe stem cell therapies that we already need to reverse vascular aging will also reduce the amount of obesity in older people? The body is an elaborate machine with very complex interconnections between all its parts. When some parts start to fail their decay can cause many different side effects aside from the most obvious. So an aging vascular system could not just increase the risk of stroke and heart attack and not just lower athletic performance. It could cause many other less obvious and harmful changes.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 September 22 11:01 PM  Aging Cardiovascular Studies

Ward said at September 29, 2008 1:40 PM:

Very interesting post - makes me wonder if this is the real culprit of the rise of obesity

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