There’s so much we still don’t know but based on how things work in the lab, this is how they think things work...
First, an individual fat cell loses much, or all, of its lipid stores. Then the shriveled fat cell gets a signal to dedifferentiate into either a preadipocyte, a baby fat cell containing no fat, or even an entirely different, more mobile cell type, one that is indistinguishable from a stem cell.
The baby fat cell can then readily undergo the process of apoptosis (cellular death) whereas adult fat cells resist this process and may not even be able to delete themselves without becoming a baby fat cell first.
The baby fat cell, has the same mobility constraints but can, however, take itself out of the game. The stem cell can delete itself at will as well as travel freely out of the fat tissue and, riding the currents of the bloodstream throughout the body, take its new place among whatever group of cells has requested a new, additional member.
If muscle tissue issued the request, then the pluripotent stem cell simply adheres to the wall of a tiny blood vessel in the muscle and then waits for the stimulus to migrate into that tissue.
Once it gets the right signal, it moves inside the matrix of the new tissue and redifferentiates to match the other cell types in its new location.
Whatever the exact sequence of cell reassignment, the abilities of the magical morphing cell suggest that our body is composed not of cellular specialists, but of generalists, ready to be retrained and reassigned at a moment’s notice. And that’s encouraging news, because it tells us that if we know what we’re doing, our best health may still be ahead of us.
***full disclosure. This is not my own work. Im not that smart. Just know good science when I find it. 🤣🤣🤣