Researchers investigate the difference between belly fat and thigh fat
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that there are genetic differences between the two types of fat: belly fat and thigh fat. Although it is known that belly fat is associated with cardiovasculare disease, it is not very clear how this type of fat affects health. Now researchers at Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes made new researchers on this type of obesity.
Men usually deposit fat in the abdominal area, while women accumulate fat predominantly in the thighs. Abdominal obesity is more harmful to health than tight obesity because it increases the risk of cardiovacular disease ( heart attack, stroke etc). In fact, waist size over 94 cm in men (80 cm in women) is one of the criteria for metabolic syndrome, according to International Diabetes Federation. The researchers wanted to investigate the differences between the two types of obesity to better understand the mechanisms underlying these processes. Also, investigators intend to develop treatments that target the most harmful type of health obesity (abdominal obesity).
The team, led by Steven R. Smith, MD, director of the Florida Hospital – Sanford-Burnham Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes, took samples from both women and men and compared the most active genes from belly fat and from tight fat. They found significant differences between the types of obesity. It seems that men have 125 genes that are expressed differenttly, while women have 218 such genes, most of which are specific to them. What is interesting is that the researchers found that some genes that differ are the homebox genes that play a role in embryonic development and are influenced by estrogen.
Also, investigators took stem cells from belly and thigh and grew them in vitro to see their evolution. Although in laboratory dishes the cells were not influenced by any endogenous factor, as are influenced in the body (nerves, hormones, etc.), these cells grew equally, that is the fat had the same pattern. This growth model shows that these cells are preprogrammed. Smith says it is important to understand the differences between the types of fat in order to develop new treatments to prevent or reverse complications of obesity. He added that belly fat is just one of the problems: “Most people want to stop belly fat. But the problem is not just the fatit’s the location. Belly fat is just a marker of the problem. The real issue is in inability to store that fat on the hips and thighs.”