The mechanisms by which obesity leads towards metabolic co-morbidities, such as diabetes mellitus, are poorly understood and of great public health interest. A study led by Matej Oreič from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland suggests that adaptation of fat cell membranes to obesity may play a key role in the early stages of inflammatory disorders.
Millions of adults are diagnosed as obese each year worldwide. Many of these people suffer from a disorder known as metabolic syndrome, which includes symptoms such as hypertension and elevated blood cholesterol. They are also at risk of developing additional diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes mellitus. Obesity may, in fact, be a major cause of all these problems - the question is, why?
Kirsi H. Pietilinen (Obesity Research Unit, Helsinki University Central Hospital), Antonio Vidal-Puig (University of Cambridge), Matej Oreič and colleagues set out to address this question in their paper published on June 7th 2011 in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.
The team used lipidomics to study the fat tissue biopsies among several sets of monozygotic twins. In each twin pair, one twin was obese (but not morbidly obese), while the other twin exhibited a normal body mass index. Because monozygotic twins share the same DNA and early upbringing, the impact of these factors on adult body mass phenotypes is accounted for, leaving other factors such as adult diet and lifestyle choices as the major variables.
When the authors compared dietary intake within twin sets, they found that obese twins had lower amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their diets than did their non-obese counterparts. The kinds of fats a person eats can affect what types of lipids are present in the body. Unexpectedly, the authors found the obese people had higher amounts of certain types of lipids containing polyunsaturated fatty acids in their adipose tissues than did their non
|Contact: Matej Oresic|
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland