Why obesity harms some more than others

June 2, 2012 at 12:23 AM

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, June 2 (UPI) -- Texas researchers suggest an "obesity gene" may account for the fact some obese people are more susceptible than others to diseases, especially type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Chaodong Wu of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University System, Xin Guo, a Ph.D. candidate and colleagues said inducible 6-phosphorofructo-2-kinase enzyme links metabolic and inflammatory responses.

This might underlie what he refers to as "healthy" obesity, to describe people who do not develop certain medical problems typically associated with obesity, Wu said.

"While many obese people develop type 2 diabetes, heart conditions and other chronic health problems associated with being significantly overweight, other obese people do not," Wu said in a statement. "While obesity in general is not healthy, some obese people do not develop the diseases more commonly associated with a less-than-healthy diet. Furthermore, a number of thinner people may have the sort of health problems more typically associated with obesity."

Wu's research team used laboratory mice to explore the effect of a targeted adipocyte overexpression of the gene/enzyme combination on diet-induced inflammatory responses and insulin sensitivity.

"We were trying to find out what it is in adipose, or fat, tissue that may trigger a negative response that leads to disease -- and how to modulate that response," Wu said. "In our study, we learned overexpression of the iPFK2 enzyme increases fat deposition, suppresses inflammatory responses and improves insulin sensitivity in both adipose and live tissues."

The study is scheduled to be published in the July issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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