Navigation Links
Finnish twin study yields new information on how fat cells cope with obesity

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-obese twins.

This finding is interesting because cell membranes are primarily composed of lipids, and different lipids can alter a membrane's physical properties, such as fluidity. When the authors used computers to model the effect of these different lipids on adipose cell membranes, they found that the new lipids observed in the cells of the obese twins balanced each other in such a way that overall membrane fluidity was unaffected. The authors concluded that lipid-content changes in obese individuals might actually be an adaptation that serves to preserve membrane function as the cells expand. Additional analyses suggested that this adaptation can only go so far, and breaks down in the morbidly obese.

The authors also conducted a statistical network analysis to attempt to identify the regulatory mechanisms underpinning the changes and found the gene encoding the fatty acid elongase Elovl6 might be involved in fatty acid remodelling in obese people. Indeed, when the researchers reduced Elovl6 expression in an adipocyte cell line, they found the cells could no longer maintain the right level of the adaptive lipids observed in obese twins.

Collectively, the authors' data point to some of the mechanisms the body may use to adapt to excess fat. These results may also help explain why obese people are at risk of developing inflammatory disorders such as diabetes mellitus: the kinds of lipids that accumulate in the adipocytes of obese people are precursors for compounds that are known to aggravate the immune system. These findings, while needing to be validated by further studies, nonetheless represent a valuable angle from which to approach the problem.


Contact: Matej Oresic
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Related biology news :

1. The Finnish Population Register Centre to Deploy Entrust EAC ePassport CA Solution
2. Smithsonian study: Stranding records are faithful reflection of live whale and dolphin populations
3. Pregnant women can prevent excess weight gain with simple steps, study finds
4. University of Arizona awarded $2.95 million to study monsoon ecology
5. Wayne State to study the role of vitamin D in African-Americans with high blood pressure
6. Study reveals how high-fat diet during pregnancy increases risk of stillbirth
7. Study finds copper proves effective against new E. coli strains
8. Farmer networks hold key to agricultural innovation in developing countries, Stanford study finds
9. Study finds greenhouse gas reduction strategy may be safe for soil animals
10. Blueberrys effects on cholesterol examined in lab animal study
11. Study: Biodegradable products may be bad for the environment
Post Your Comments:
(Date:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample ... molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in ... respectively, today announced the launch of a project to ... (NGS) testing panel. NSO has been ...
(Date:3/18/2016)... March 18, 2016 --> ... Biometrics, ICT, Manned & Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter ... companies in the border security market and the continuing migration ... Europe has led visiongain to publish ... success. --> defence & security companies in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... find the most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings ... here to read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that Dr. ... STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that Dr. ... STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: