Obesity Causes Unhealthy Fat Cells say Researchers

Compared to lean people, obese people have unhealthy fat cells. According to a study published in the September issue of Diabetes,there are differences in fat between lean and obese people at a cellular level,which may explain why obesity is associated with a greater incidence of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Researchers from Temple University found disruptions in key enzymes that regulate glucose and protein synthesis when compared to fat examined in lean subjects.

Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of endocrinology, Temple University says, "The fat cells we found in our obese patients were deficient in several areas.”They showed significant stress on the endoplasmic reticulum, and the tissue itself was more inflamed than in our lean patients." Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is responsible for protein synthesis, production of steroids, and glycogen production and storage. The researchers examined the tissue by way of biopsy from six obese and six lean patients to find the differences.

Lead author of the study, Guenther Boden, MD, is studying the role of elevated free fatty acids and inflammation as it relates to ER stress, diabetes and vascular disease. The study concludes: “ER stress activation of JNK may be a link between obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation.”

Increase in Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress–Related Proteins and Genes in Adipose Tissue of Obese, Insulin-Resistant Individuals

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