Researchers find disease-causing fat cells in those with metabolic syndrome
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 Control and Prevention estimates that 35 percent of American adults have metabolic syndrome, and its prevalence is increasing even in children and young adults globally. It doubles a person's chances of developing cardiovascular disease -- which can lead to heart attack or stroke -- and is at least five times the risk for developing diabetes.
"This is the plague of our time," said Jialal, who is also the editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders.
In the current study, biopsies were performed to remove subcutaneous adipose tissue, which accounts for about 80 percent of body fat, from the buttocks of 70 patients: 39 newly diagnosed with metabolic syndrome and 26 who were obese. Researchers also took standard measurements, such as fasting glucose and blood pressure, waist circumference and body mass index (BMI). Glucose measurements were used to estimate insulin resistance, and both waist size and BMI were used in the statistical analysis to match test subjects with their control counterparts.
Jialal and his collaborators then measured 11 biomarkers for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as counting the number of macrophages in the fat tissue. These macrophages form crown-like structures around fat cells that have outgrown their blood supply and died. The presence of macrophages -- immune system cells that engulf and destroy cellular waste -- indicates the kind of inflammatory response implicated in cardiovascular disease.
Last year, Jialal published a study on these same 65 patients showing that they have both dysfunctional and fewer endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) than control subjects. These cells eventually form the lining of blood vessels and are used as a measure of cardiovascular health. As in the current study, this abnormality cannot be explained simply by obesity. Jialal's team now is looking at differences in monocytes between the two study groups. The new data suggests intrinsic defects in the critical adipose tissue cells and EPCs that are relevant to increased risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
While metabolic syndrome can be reversed through diet and exercise resulting in weight loss, other kinds of treatment may be needed, Jialal said.
"I have done this for 34 years. It is hard to get people to stick to therapeutic lifestyle changes," he said, adding that researchers need to address the dysfunction of fat cells, using existing or novel drug therapies to block the production of damaging biomarkers.
"Once people have cardiovascular disease or diabetes, it's too late and far more expensive given the complications that ensue. Metabolic syndrome is the antecedent. This is where we need to intervene," said Jialal.
Provided by University of California - Davis
- Higher levels of obesity-related hormone found in patients with psoriasis Dec 15, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Study finds low vitamin D levels in northern California residents with metabolic syndrome Nov 30, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Adults who eat apples, drink apple juice have lower risk for metabolic syndrome Apr 08, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Metabolic syndrome may cause kidney disease Aug 19, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood obesity alone may increase risk of later cardiovascular disease Jan 26, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
14 hours ago From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
Marie Curie's leukemia
May 13, 2013 Does anyone know what might be the cause of Marie Curie's cancer
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Scientists investigating the interaction of a group of proteins in the brain responsible for protecting nerve cells from damage have identified a new target that could increase cell survival.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
New findings by researchers carrying out experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's Advanced Photon Source (APS) help explain why some drugs that interact with two kinds of human serotonin ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Peptide molecules derived from the body's natural immune system can help boost the body's defence against life-threatening blood poisoning, joint University research has uncovered.
Medical research May 17, 2013 | 4 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A new Montréal study conducted by Dr. May Faraj, associate research professor at the Université de Montréal and invited scientist at the IRCM, along with her research team and medical collaborators, shows ...
Medical research May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
16 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
17 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
7 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0