Not all fat is created equal

Aug 27, 2008

A Temple University study finds fat in obese patients is "sick" when compared to fat in lean patients.

When our bodies don't work properly, we say we're sick. A study published in the September issue of Diabetes finds that the same could be said for fat tissue found in obese patients. The cells in their fat tissue aren't working properly and as a result, are sicker than cells found in lean patients' fat tissue.

Lead author Guenther Boden, M.D. theorizes that "sick fat" could more fully explain the link between obesity and higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Researchers from the departments of endocrinology, biochemistry and surgery at the Temple University School of Medicine took fat biopsies from the upper thighs of six lean and six obese patients and found significant differences at the cellular level.

"The fat cells we found in our obese patients were deficient in several areas," said Boden, Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of endocrinology. "They showed significant stress on the endoplasmic reticulum, and the tissue itself was more inflamed than in our lean patients."

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is found in every cell and helps synthesize proteins and monitor how they're folded. The stress that Boden describes causes the ER in fat cells to produce several proteins that ultimately lead to insulin resistance, which has been found to play a major role in the development and progression of obesity-related conditions.

The National Institutes of Health recently reported that each time a body mass index (BMI) over 25 is raised by one point, the risk for diabetes increases 25 percent and the risk for heart disease increases 10 percent.

Reducing weight can help reduce stress on the ER, which can lower the risk of insulin resistance and the resulting conditions. Currently Boden and his team are looking at whether free fatty acids are a potential cause for this ER stress.

Source: Temple University

Explore further: Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

3 hours ago

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

SpaceX launches supplies to space station (Update)

3 hours ago

The SpaceX company returned to orbit Friday, launching fresh supplies to the International Space Station after more than a month's delay and setting the stage for urgent spacewalking repairs.

Recommended for you

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

3 hours ago

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

3 hours ago

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

15 hours ago

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...