Researchers are close to revealing vital sex differences in men and women concerning fat storage and may soon be able to answer questions as to why men and women put on those extra kilos in different areas of the body.
The research has indicated that fat is genetically different in men and women.
"Given the difference in gene expression profiles, a female fat tissue won't behave anything like a male fat tissue and vice versa," said Deborah Clegg, of the UT Southwestern Medical Center.
"The notion that fat cells between males and females are alike is inconsistent with our findings," he said.
Mice store their fat similar to humans in a sexually dimorphic pattern. Just like human males, male mice store their fat in the belly and midsection area while females store fat in their hips, thighs and buttocks.
"We found that out of about 40,000 mouse genes, only 138 are commonly found in both male and female fat cells," said Clegg.
"This was completely unexpected. We expected the exact opposite - that 138 would be different and the rest would be the same between the sexes."
"The research being performed by Dr. Clegg and colleagues underscores the importance of understanding the differences in fat deposition in men and women," said Viviana Simon of Society for Women's Health Research.
"The ability to manipulate how and where in the body fat is deposited holds the promise of helping researchers develop strategies to prevent or delay the development of chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease," added Simon.
The findings appeared in the International Journal of Obesity.