Washington, Mar 16 : A new study has shown that over expressing a protein involved in the uptake of fat in muscle of mice can enhance their tolerance to cold temperatures.
The study led by Dalan Jensen revealed that by increasing the muscle's ability to use fat for energy had a profound impact on its contribution to thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis is the process of generating heat to stay warm when the temperature drops. It occurs mostly in mammals.
They generate heat through mechanisms like shivering and breaking down 'brown fat' (high energy fat cells that are especially prominent in newborns and hibernating animals).
The transgenic mice had over expressed lipoprotein lipase (LPL), an enzyme that extracts fat from the blood so that it can be used to produce energy.
Later the researchers placed the mice in a chamber set to 4 degrees C (39 degreesF) and found that they were far more cold tolerant than regular mice.
They also found that the LPL mice could withstand 4 degreesC for several hours and still maintain normal body temperatures.
Researchers suggested that LPL increased the muscle's ability to oxidize fat, which allowed the mice to produce more heat than regular animals without increasing their physical activity thereby making them more tolerant.
The report appears in Journal of Lipid Research.