Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identical twins with significant weight differences shed light on the phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity

Date:
October 6, 2013
Source:
Diabetologia
Summary:
A unique study of 16 pairs of identical twins in which one twin is obese and the other lean has yielded some surprising results. In 8 of the pairs of twins, the obese twin was as 'metabolically healthy' as his or her lean co-twin, while in the other 8 pairs, the obese twin had a poorer blood fat profile, higher liver fat and increased insulin production and resistance, and higher blood pressure -- all hallmarks of unhealthy obesity.

A unique study of 16 pairs of identical twins in which one twin is obese and the other lean has yielded some surprising results. In 8 of the pairs of twins, the obese twin was as 'metabolically healthy' as his or her lean co-twin, while in the other 8 pairs, the obese twin had a poorer blood fat profile, higher liver fat and increased insulin production and resistance, and higher blood pressure -- all hallmarks of unhealthy obesity that can lead to diabetes, heart problems and other complications.

Related Articles


The study is by Dr Kirsi Pietilδinen, Dr Jussi Naukkarinen and colleagues from the Obesity Research Unit, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, and is published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).

Not all obese individuals display the metabolic disturbances commonly associated with excess fat accumulation. Mechanisms maintaining this 'metabolically healthy obesity' (MHO) are as yet unknown. In this new research, the authors studied different fat depots and transcriptional pathways in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) of participants to analyse their relationship to the MHO phenomenon.

The sixteen rare young adult obesity-discordant identical (monozygotic) twin pairs (intra-pair difference in BMI ≥3kg/m2 and BMI range 20-40 and aged 23-36 years, were examined for detailed characteristics of metabolic health (subcutaneous-, intra-abdominal- and liver fat [magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/ spectroscopy]), an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT-to determine how quickly glucose is cleared from the blood), lipids, and certain markers of inflammation such as adipokines and C-reactive protein (CRP). The function of the mitochondria (part of the cell machinery) and inflammation in the SAT were also studied.

In all 16 pairs, the average weight difference between the obese co-twin and the lean-co-twin was 17kg. In half (8/16) of the pairs the obese co-twin had significantly higher liver fat (around 7 times higher), a 78% increase in insulin production during OGTT, increased CRP, significantly more disturbance in the blood fat profile and greater tendency for high blood pressure compared with the lean co-twin. In these obese co-twins, SAT expression of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, branched-chain, amino acid catabolism, fatty acid oxidation and adipocyte differentiation pathways were downregulated and chronic inflammation upregulated, all of which are metabolic problems that can lead to complications and disease.

In the other eight pairs, the obese co-twin did not differ from the non-obese co-twin in liver fat, insulin sensitivity, CRP, lipids, blood pressure or SAT metabolic characteristics.

The authors discuss that it is also possible that the MHO stage will change with age or with advanced obesity. However, at present the two metabolically distinct groups were of the same age and had similar age of onset of obesity difference between the twin pair. They speculate: "Weight differences between the groups were similar, but a given weight difference may have different metabolic effects depending on where in the distribution of BMI a pair is located."

The authors conclude: "Our results suggest that maintenance of high mitochondrial transcription and lack of inflammation in SAT are associated with low liver fat and MHO...Future studies of the MHO phenotype may suggest new potentially drug targets -- with the most effective intervention point perhaps being improving mitochondrial function and prevention of inflammation in adipose tissue.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Diabetologia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Naukkarinen, S. Heinonen, A. Hakkarainen, J. Lundbom, K. Vuolteenaho, L. Saarinen, S. Hautaniemi, A. Rodriguez, G. Frühbeck, P. Pajunen, T. Hyötyläinen, M. Orešič, E. Moilanen, A. Suomalainen, N. Lundbom, J. Kaprio, A. Rissanen, K. H. Pietiläinen. Identical twins with significant weight differences shed light on the phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity. Diabetologia, 2013 DOI: 10.1007/s00125-013-3066-y

Cite This Page:

Diabetologia. "Identical twins with significant weight differences shed light on the phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006204207.htm>.
Diabetologia. (2013, October 6). Identical twins with significant weight differences shed light on the phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006204207.htm
Diabetologia. "Identical twins with significant weight differences shed light on the phenomenon of metabolically healthy obesity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131006204207.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Treadmill Test Can Predict Chance Of Death Within A Decade

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Johns Hopkins researchers analyzed 58,000 heart stress tests to come up with a formula that predicts a person&apos;s chances of dying in the next decade. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Going Gluten-Free Could Get You A Tax Break

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — If a doctor advises you to remove gluten from your diet, you could get a tax deduction on the amount you spend on gluten-free foods. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis Try Swapping Success

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) — GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis have completed a series of asset swaps worth more than $20 billion. As Grace Pascoe reports they say the deal will reshape both drugmakers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

How Can West Africa Rebuild After Ebola?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) — How best to rebuild the three West African countries struggling with Ebola will be discussed in Brussels this week. As Hayley Platt reports Sierra Leone has the toughest job ahead - its once thriving economy has been ravaged by the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins