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From the article:
Treating obese mice with the cytokine known as TSLP led to significant abdominal fat and weight loss compared to controls […] Unexpectedly, the fat loss was notassociated with decreased food intake or faster metabolism. Instead, the researchers discovered that TSLP stimulated the immune system to release lipids through the skin’s oil-producing sebaceous glands.
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin:
Thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) is a cytokine – a type of immune system protein – involved in asthma and other allergic diseases. The Kambayashi research group has been investigating the expanded role of this cytokine to activate Type 2 immune cells and expand T regulatory cells. Since past studies have indicated that these cells can regulate energy metabolism, the researchers predicted that treating overweight mice with TSLP could stimulate an immune response, which could subsequently counteract some of the harmful effects of obesity.
“When I looked at the coats of the TSLP-treated mice, I noticed that they glistened in the light. I always knew exactly which mice had been treated, because they were so much shinier than the others,” he said. Kambayashi considered a far-fetched idea – was their greasy hair a sign that the mice were “sweating” out fat from their skin?
Does this mechanism exist in humans?
To examine whether TSLP could potentially play a role in the control of oil secretion in humans, the researchers then examined TSLPand a panel of 18 sebaceous gland-associated genes in a publicly-available dataset. This revealed that TSLPexpression is significantly and positively correlated with sebaceous gland gene expression in healthy human skin.