The increasing acceptance of modern lifestyle means that mllions of adults around the world can be classified as obese.
Many of them suffer from disorder called metabolic syndrome, which involves high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol-like symptoms. They even have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Obesity may, in fact, be a major cause of all these problems - the question is, why?
A study led by Matej Oresic from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland suggests that adaptation of fat cell membranes to obesity may play a key role in the early stages of inflammatory disorders.
Kirsi H. Pietil?inen (Obesity Research Unit, Helsinki University Central Hospital), Antonio Vidal-Puig (University of Cambridge), Matej Oresic and colleagues used lipidomics to study the fat tissue biopsies among several sets of monozygotic twins.
In each twin pair, one twin was obese (but not morbidly obese), while the other twin exhibited a normal body mass index.
When the authors compared dietary intake within twin sets, they found that obese twins had lower amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids in their diets than did their non-obese counterparts.
The kinds of fats a person eats can affect what types of lipids are present in the body. Unexpectedly, the authors found that obese people had higher amounts of certain types of lipids containing polyunsaturated fatty acids in their adipose tissues than did their non-obese twins.
Collectively, the authors' data point to some of the mechanisms the body may use to adapt to excess fat. These results may also help explain why obese people are at risk of developing inflammatory disorders.
The study was recently published in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.