New research shows that the quality - not just the quantity - of adipose, or fat tissue, is a significant contributing factor in the development of inflammation and vascular disease in obese people.
The study by the researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) provides compelling evidence that the answer to treating cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer, might be found in the adipose tissue itself.
Led by Noyan Gokce, a cardiologist at BMC and an associate professor of medicine at BUSM, the researchers examined adipose tissue samples from both lean and obese individuals.
After compiling the information, the researchers saw that lean individuals exhibited no adipose inflammation and normal vascular function whereas the obese individuals exhibited significant inflammation and poor vascular function.
While these study findings are consistent with other epidemiological obesity studies, this research team identified that 30 percent of the obese subjects demonstrated reduced fat inflammation, less insulin resistance, and their vascular function was similar to a lean person despite severe obesity.
The study suggested that humans prone to inflammation in association with weight gain might be more susceptible to cardiovascular and metabolic disease risks.
"While it is widely believed that obesity and inflammation are linked to cardiovascular disease, this study shows not all obese individuals exhibit inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer," said Gokce, the study's senior author.
"Once we identify what harmful products adipose tissue is producing that is linked to causing systemic inflammation, we can explore treatments against it that could potentially combat the development of several debilitating obesity-related disorders," added Gokce.
The study is a special feature on the iPAD version of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.