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UC Davis researchers find disease-causing fat cells in those with metabolic syndrome
Date:8/24/2011

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) UC Davis Health System researchers have discovered biological indicators that help explain why some obese people develop chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and others do not.

The researchers took a novel approach of looking specifically at the body fat of people with metabolic syndrome -- a condition characterized by increased blood pressure, high-fasting blood-sugar levels, excess abdominal fat and abnormal cholesterol levels. They found the fat cells released biomarkers associated with insulin resistance and chronic inflammation, conditions often leading to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

"Our study shows that not all obesity is the same and some body fat may actually be toxic," said Ishwarlal Jialal, UC Davis professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and senior author of the article, "Adipose Tissue Dysregulation in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome," published online today in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. "We have shown that the dysfunction in the fat of people with metabolic syndrome is more than can be explained by obesity. It tells us that metabolic syndrome is a high-risk condition for people who are obese."

While previous studies using circulating blood have found some of these biomarkers in people with metabolic syndrome, the current study is the first to pinpoint fat as a contributing source of these markers. The study is also unique in that it involved patients newly diagnosed with metabolic syndrome who had not yet developed diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Researchers compared fat from study subjects to fat from people who were also obese, but did not have metabolic syndrome.

"This drives home the point that clearly metabolic syndrome is high-risk for obesity and needs to be treated seriously," said Jialal, who directs the UC Davis Laboratory for Atherosclerosis and Metabolic Research.

The Centers for Disease Co
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Contact: Charles Casey
charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9048
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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