Increasing abdominal girth – better known as the middle-aged spread – and shrinking muscles are two unpleasant side effects of growing older. But in experiments with mice, researchers at the University of Bonn say that have identified cell “antennas,” so-called A2B receptors, that encourage the body to burn fat instead of storing it.
“The more A2B a mouse produces, the more heat it generates,” explained Professor Alexander Pfeifer from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology on the university website. “They are slimmer, but at the same time have more muscles.”
The researchers observed a similar phenomenon in human beings with large numbers of A2B receptors. There is currently no activator of A2B approved for use in humans, but the scientists hope that their work might lead someday to treatments for obesity and related diseases and help older people remain mobile.