Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A pioneering collaborative mouse study from an international team of researchers including Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics Associate Professor Ana Domingos published in Nature offers new therapeutic avenues for reducing visceral fat stores, which have been associated with cardiovascular disease and multiple types of cancer.

Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, including breast and colorectal, the two most prevalent cancers, together with cardiovascular disease, one of the leading causes of death worldwide. 

The most harmful type of obesity is caused by excessive accumulation of visceral fat, commonly called "deep" fat. While the most visible fat stores, or subcutaneous fat, are located directly under the skin, visceral fat is the fat stored inside our abdominal cavity, surrounding our vital internal organs. Normal amounts of visceral fat support a number of fundamental functions, such as reproduction. However, too much visceral fat produces unhealthy levels of proteins and hormones that negatively impact neighbouring tissues and organs, and it can be very difficult to eliminate.

DPAG’s Associate Professor Ana Domingos has collaborated with researchers from the Champalimaud Research Programme in Portugal and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Germany to explore the mechanisms that naturally reduce visceral fat with the aim of uncovering potential clinical applications to benefit patients suffering from obesity. In doing so, they have uncovered the first known neuro-immune process by which brain signals instruct immune function in visceral fat stores. This discovery offers several new approaches to tackle obesity and its related illness.

Read the full story on the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics website

Similar stories

New computational technique reveals changes to lung function post COVID-19 infection

A new study led by Oxford researchers found that prior COVID-19 infection was associated with more uneven inflation of the lungs during normal breathing, smaller lung volumes, and greater respiratory dead space.

Oxford spinout Optellum secures $14m funding to advance pioneering AI-powered lung cancer diagnosis technology

Optellum, a University of Oxford spinout that provides a breakthrough AI platform to diagnose and treat early-stage lung cancer, has raised $14 million in a Series A funding round.

Celebrating Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September was Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and researchers in Department of Paediatrics took action to help raise awareness for this cause.

New study shows higher rate of fractures in people with intellectual disability

In the most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers at the University of Oxford and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust found a substantially higher rate of fractures in people with intellectual disability compared with people of the same age and gender without an intellectual disability.

New evidence for how our brains handle surprise

A new study from the Bruno Group is challenging our perceptions of how the different regions of the cerebral cortex function. A group of ‘quiet’ cells in the somatosensory cortex that rarely respond to touch have been found to react mainly to surprising circumstances. The results suggest their function is not necessarily driven by touch, but may indicate an important and previously unidentified role across all the major cortices.