Fat cells' reaction differs with body weight

The fat cells of overweight people may react differently to dietary changes than in their lean peers, according to a pioneering study from the Dutch organization TNO Quality of Life.
A specially designed spread with a specific fatty acid composition changed the expression of genes that regulated energy metabolism and inflammation. And the changes were different between overweight and lean people.

The researchers, led by Marjan van Erk, suggest that the results could lead to the development of better dietary strategies for keeping slightly overweight people healthy for a longer period of time. The researchers recruited ten lean and ten overweight men and assigned them to consume a specially-designed spread and a control spread for nine days. Both spreads contained the same amount of fat, but the fat composition was different. The special spread contained higher levels of medium chain triglycerides, short-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.

Subcutaneous fat tissue biopsies taken from the volunteers showed that the activity of the genes differed significantly between lean and overweight men. They found that the special spread was associated with a higher expression of genes related to energy metabolism. It was also linked to a lower activity of inflammatory genes and higher activity of genes related to lipid metabolism.

Such changes would undoubtedly lead to health improvements, as up-regulation of the energy metabolism genes may decrease fat tissue mass. On the other hand, reductions of the inflammatory processes has potential benefits since chronic inflammation has been linked to range of conditions linked to heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, type-II diabetes, and arthritis.

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