Are your fat cells healthy or are they bloated and causing health problems?

November 19, 2014

Dr. Alexander Sorisky has been awarded a grant worth $276,000 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to study human pre-fat cells in obese people and see how they respond to stress. Obesity, or excess fat tissue, is a major health hazard in Canada. It increases the risk of heart attacks and sugar diabetes. Despite all of the research, there are very few effective ways to help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. However, some obese people stay relatively healthy. One reason for this could be the way the fat tissue accumulates. When people gain weight, the extra calories are stored in fat tissue, and so, fat tissue expands. If there are enough pre-fat cells that work properly, they can change into fat cells to help store the calories. In this case, the fat tissue expands by making more fat cells, and the fat tissue remains healthy, even though there is more of it. However, if the pre-fat cells do not work well, they do not form enough new fat cells and the extra calories get stuffed into the fat cells that are already there. Those fat cells then become swollen and inflamed, and do not respond well to insulin's requests for energy. By studying pre-fat cells and their response to stresses that include high glucose levels, Dr. Sorisky hopes to find a way to make the fat tissue healthier, even if weight gain is not preventable or treatable.

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with its faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Research at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

For further information, please contact

Paddy Moore
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
(o) 613-737-8899 x73687 or (c) 613-323-5680