The reason is because scientists from the United States found that abdominal fat may help regulate the immune system.
According to the researchers, their findings may help develop new drugs for patients undergoing organ and tissue transplants, as well as those who suffer from autoimmune diseases like lupus. Autoimmune disorder is a failure of the immune system functions that make the body attacks its own tissues.
Published in the PLoS ONE journal, the study authors, Makio Iwashima, Professor of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said that scientists have evidence that the omentum is not just fat. Omentum is the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the organs.
The research team led by Dr. Iwashima studied the effect of abdominal fat cell interaction with T-lymphocytes in rats. T-lymphocytes is the first immune barrier prior to the infection, these cells are able to identify, attack and destroy bacteria, viruses, and
other infectious agents.
Normally, T-lymphocytes multiply themselves to ward off infection, and produce antibodies. However, when researchers try to combine abdominal fat cells with T-lymphocytes that have been activated, T-lymphocytes do not increase in numbers, as they should have, but died.
This means that the omentum cells secrete substances that suppress the immunity. These findings may serve to create a drug
that can reduce the immune system with minimal side effects, compared with immunosuppressive drugs in use today.
The drug can be used to prevent rejection of the patient, who had undergone lung transplantation. Professor Iwashima shows that in addition to the ability to affect the immune system, omentum also plays an important role in regenerating damaged tissue.
Because, the omentum contains mesenchymal stem cells that are connected to the wound and aid in tissue repair. These cells have the ability to transform into various specialized cell types.
In their study, the researchers demonstrated that the omental cell cultures can be transformed into lung cells, as well as into bone cells. Dr. Iwashima believe that belly fat can be a source of specialized cells for the treatment and repair of tissues of different organs.Tagged with: