Stress-induced overweight: Mechanism for fat distribution discovered

July 3, 2013
Stress-induced overweight: Mechanism for fat distribution discovered

(Medical Xpress)—When someone is suffering from raised stress levels increased amounts of glucocorticoids are secreted. These play a part in becoming overweight. Up until now it has not been clear why fat tissue is formed primarily in the belly as abdominal or visceral fat. Scientists from the Clinical Institute of Laboratory Medicine at the MedUni Vienna have now decoded a mechanism responsible for the distribution of fat.

These scientists under the leadership of Martin Bilban from the Clinical Institute of Laboratory Medicine at the MedUni Vienna discovered a chain of , which is kick-started by the formation of glucocorticoids. Here the glucocorticoid-dependent gene "LMO3" and the 11?HSD1 enzyme are the deciding factors: changes in the formation of LMO3 play an important role in the re-distribution of the fat tissue in the direction of belly fat – these changes are triggered by the higher glucocorticoid level and by the 11?HSD1 enzyme.

"The enzyme is, so to speak, the charger for LMO3, which then completes the re-distribution," declares Bilban. The study's authors were thus able to demonstrate that LMO3- and 11?HSD1- levels in the belly fat of obese patients are closely correlated. Furthermore, both also promote the formation of . "In this, LMO3 has a stimulating effect at molecular level on PPAR?, the key gene in the formation of fat," says Bilban.

In general, a differentiation is made between two types of fat deposits: between visceral (internal) belly fat and subcutaneous fat tissue which sits under the skin. The pattern of fat distribution is a significant factor for the health risk in being overweight or obese. If there is too much belly fat – the fat distribution type typical for men – there is increased risk of serious health issues such as , strokes, cardio- and several significant . Says co-head of the study Harald Esterbauer: "Belly fat is not only a bad fat, it is also the one that is most often formed when a person is under stress."

According to Bilban, the de-coding of this molecular mechanism could in future contribute to developing new treatment possibilities for metabolic syndrome (visceral fat, high blood pressure, raised blood fats and insulin resistance). It would be conceivable that the build-up of visceral fat could be expressly prevented by blocking LMO3.

Glucocorticoids – only dangerous in excess

Basically perform various important physiological tasks in the human body: they influence metabolism, water and electrolyte balance, the cardio-vascular system and the nervous system. "We couldn't live without them," says Esterbauer. Disorders of the glucocorticoid balance can manifest in so-called Cushing's syndrome. This syndrome is triggered either by the body's own over-production of cortisone or the long-term taking of cortisone preparations. Both increase the risk of metabolic syndrome – through an increased formation of visceral fat tissue amongst other things.

The current study was conducted within the context of the "Cell Communication in Health and Disease" doctorate programme by the PhD student Josefine Lindroos and has now been published in the leading journal Cell Metabolism.

Explore further: Prenatal exposure to BPA affects fat tissues in sheep

More information: Lindroos, J. et al. Human But Not Mouse Adipogenesis Is Critically Dependent on LMO3, Cell Metabolism. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2013.05.020

Galitzky, J., Bouloumie, A. Human Visceral-Fat-Specific Glucocorticoid Tuning of Adipogenesis, Cell Metabolism. www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/a … -4131%2813%2900252-0

Related Stories

Prenatal exposure to BPA affects fat tissues in sheep

June 17, 2013
New research suggests that fetal exposure to the common environmental chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, causes increased inflammation in fat tissues after birth, which can lead to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Results of the ...

Obstructive sleep apnea associated with less visceral fat accumulation in women than men

May 22, 2013
A new study from researchers in Japan indicates that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is independently associated with visceral (abdominal) fat accumulation only in men, perhaps explaining gender differences in the impact of ...

Men with belly fat at risk for osteoporosis

November 28, 2012
Visceral, or deep belly, obesity is a risk factor for bone loss and decreased bone strength in men, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Newly discovered human fat cell opens up new opportunities for future treatment of obesity

May 2, 2013
The body's brown fat cells play a key role in the development of obesity and diabetes. Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have now discovered that we humans have two different kinds of brown ...

Exercise benefits patients with type 2 diabetes

June 25, 2013
Moderate-intensity exercise reduces fat stored around the heart, in the liver and in the abdomen of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, even in the absence of any changes in diet, according to a new study published online ...

A new candidate pathway for treating visceral obesity

May 6, 2012
Brown seems to be the color of choice when it comes to the types of fat cells in our bodies. Brown fat expends energy, while its counterpart, white fat stores it. The danger in white fat cells, along with the increased risk ...

Recommended for you

Team finds link between backup immune defense, mutation seen in Crohn's disease

July 27, 2017
Genes that regulate a cellular recycling system called autophagy are commonly mutated in Crohn's disease patients, though the link between biological housekeeping and inflammatory bowel disease remained a mystery. Now, researchers ...

Study finds harmful protein on acid triggers a life-threatening disease

July 27, 2017
Using an array of modern biochemical and structural biology techniques, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have begun to unravel the mystery of how acidity influences a small protein called serum ...

CRISPR sheds light on rare pediatric bone marrow failure syndrome

July 27, 2017
Using the gene editing technology CRISPR, scientists have shed light on a rare, sometimes fatal syndrome that causes children to gradually lose the ability to manufacture vital blood cells.

Post-stroke patients reach terra firma with new exosuit technology

July 26, 2017
Upright walking on two legs is a defining trait in humans, enabling them to move very efficiently throughout their environment. This can all change in the blink of an eye when a stroke occurs. In about 80% of patients post-stroke, ...

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.