What is it about?

Calcium is important for all life, from contraction of the heart to nervous activity in the brain. It is also necessary for fat cells to store and release energy in the form of lipids and fats. An understanding of this process may help understanding of obesity and help develop tools to combat it. We have shown the novel finding that fat cells have a protein similar to that found in brain and heart tissues that acts to control the entry of calcium into this cell type. Moreover, this protein appears to regulate the process of lipolysis, the mechanism by which fat cells release fat into the blood stream and ultimately leads to fat loss and weight reduction.

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Why is it important?

This type of protein we describe in fat cells is normally associated with muscle, nerves and endocrine cells; the fact that it is present in fat cells is unexpected and begs the question as to what it is doing there. we believe that one role is to control the ability of fat cells to store excess energy as fat and may be involved in the release of fat during times of energy demand say during exercise.


This finding is highly controversial since we found the unexpected. Moreover the consequences of our findings may have other repercussions like effects of stem cell development into fat cells and vitamin D release; contemporary targets in human health

Paul Smith
University of Nottingham

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This page is a summary of: CaV1.2 and CaV1.3 voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ channels in rat white fat adipocytes, Journal of Endocrinology, February 2020, Bioscientifica, DOI: 10.1530/joe-19-0493.
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