CRISPR-engineered fat cells prevent obesity

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Activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) to increase energy expenditure is an attractive anti-obesity strategy, but attempts so far have been limited by side-effects. Here, Wang et al. engineer human white pre-adipocytes using CRISPR–Cas9 to activate expression of uncoupling protein 1, thereby creating human brown-like (HUMBLE) cells. Transplantation of HUMBLE cells into diet-induced obese mouse models improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, increased energy expenditure and reduced weight gain, without side-effects. The HUMBLE cells activated endogenous BAT, through increased production and red blood cell-mediated delivery of nitric oxide.

Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 19, 672 (2020)


  1. 1.

    Wang, C.-H. et al. CRISPR-engineered human brown-like adipocytes prevent diet-induced obesity and ameliorate metabolic syndrome in mice. Sci. Transl Med. 12, eaaz8664 (2020)

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