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Ben-Gurion U. researchers identify how stressed fat tissue malfunctions
Date:7/14/2009

dergoing abdominal surgery. The team identified a signaling pathway that is operational in intra-abdominal fat, the fat depot that is most strongly tied to obesity-related morbidity.

The degree of activation of a signaling pathway from these individuals was compared with those of leaner people, those with obesity predominantly characterized by accumulation of "peripheral" fat, and those with obesity with predominant accumulation of fat within the abdominal cavity.

They discovered that the signaling pathway was more active depending on the amount of fat accumulation in the abdomen, and that it correlated with multiple biochemical markers for increased cardio-metabolic risk. Moreover, the expression of one of the upstream signaling components, a protein called ASK1, predicts whole-body insulin resistance (an endocrine abnormality that is strongly tied to diabetes and cardiovascular disease), independent of other traditional risk factors.

Researchers also demonstrated that although non-fat cells within adipose tissue express most of this protein in lean persons, the adipocytes themselves increase its expression by more than four-fold in abdominally-obese persons.

"The importance of this study is not only in contributing to the understanding of adipose tissue dysfunction in obesity, but as a consequence, may provide important leads for novel ways to prevent the dangerous consequences, such as type 2 diabetes, of intra-abdominal fat accumulation," states Dr. Iris Shai, a BGU researcher at the S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel.


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Contact: Andrew Lavin
alc@alavin.com
212-290-9540
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Source:Eurekalert

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