SEP 25, 2018 9:34 AM PDT

A Better Place to Gain Weight

WRITTEN BY: Nicholas Breehl

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that in the United States, about 93 million adults are obese. Obesity is a disease with terrible health impacts such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. But, is there a preferred place on the body to gain the weight? An odd question, but a team of researchers at the University of California, Riverside have started with this question in hopes their work may lead to a better understanding of the disease.

Associate professor of biomedical sciences University of California’s medical school answers the question; is it better to gain weight on the abdomen or the hips? Women will typically gain weight a little easier in their hips before the belly and men tend to increase the weight in their abdominal region.

The study design included male and female mice with diet-induced obesity. High-fat diets demonstrated differences amongst the genders. Male mice were prone to the diet-induced obesity more so than females. Interestingly, the researchers removed the ovaries of the female mice and observed a shift in their ability to avoid obesity. This data suggests that the ovarian hormones may be contributing a protective mechanism to the female weight gain.

Male mice on the high-fat diet displayed changes in the hypothalamic neuropeptide expressions, the region of the brain that controls feeding and satiety, thermoregulation, thirst, circadian rhythms, metabolism, and mammalian reproduction. An increase in immune cell activation in the brain was also noted among male mice, whereas in ovariectomized female mice an anti-inflammatory cytokine immune system molecule called IL-10 was increased. The team states that this result may indicate the lack of neuroinflammation in females is due to something other than ovary related mechanisms.

The study reveals a difference in fat accumulation between males and females. The males will gain the added weight in the abdominal region and the females first add the weight in the hip region. This difference could be linked to the unique results of weight gain between genders.

Djurdica Coss, associate professor of biomedical science at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine states, "We addressed this assumption by removing ovaries in young mice.” Coss also shared, "We found that the mice proceed to gain weight when fed a high-fat diet, suggesting that ovarian hormones are indeed protective against weight gain. But we found, too, that these female mice exhibit neither neuroinflammation nor changes in reproductive hormones, suggesting that they are protected by factors other than ovarian estrogen. This is a novel finding."

“Our studies suggest that inflammation-induced synaptic remodeling is potentially responsible for hypothalamic impairment that may contribute to diminished levels of gonadotropin hormones, testosterone, and sperm numbers, which we observe and corresponds to the observations in obese humans. Taken together, our data implicate neuro-immune mechanisms underlying sex-specific differences in obesity-induced impairment of the hypothalamic function with potential consequences for reproduction and fertility”, reports Coss.

Coss and team suggest the immune-inflammatory markers, cytokines, being secreted in the blood may migrate from the blood and fat tissue, to activate immune cells that allow for an easier transfer across the blood-brain barrier. The team recognizes there may be other immune cells contributing to the neuroinflammation.

Sources: CDC, MedExpress, Frontiers

About the Author
You May Also Like
JUL 29, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Will We Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by Year-End?
JUL 29, 2020
Will We Have a COVID-19 Vaccine by Year-End?
This week, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Pfizer launched giant Phase III 30,000-subject trials for their COVID-19 ...
AUG 24, 2020
Immunology
Injectable Drug Stops HIV From Entering Cells
AUG 24, 2020
Injectable Drug Stops HIV From Entering Cells
Once in the body, HIV tracks down T cells that bear the CD4 receptor. It attaches to these immune cells, fusing itself w ...
OCT 20, 2020
Immunology
The Immune Pause Button Slowing MS Progression
OCT 20, 2020
The Immune Pause Button Slowing MS Progression
  Scientists have a new theory about the genetics behind the progressive, debilitating effects of multiple sclerosi ...
NOV 05, 2020
Immunology
Immune cells from recovered COVID-19 patients can help protect immunocompromised individuals against infection
NOV 05, 2020
Immune cells from recovered COVID-19 patients can help protect immunocompromised individuals against infection
Our knowledge of COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is increasing every day, with new research papers published continuously. Resear ...
NOV 16, 2020
Immunology
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
NOV 16, 2020
Australian COVID-19 vaccine is promising and could be released next year
Pharmaceutical companies worldwide are racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine that will hopefully end this pandemic and he ...
NOV 19, 2020
Immunology
Parasitic Worms Help Unravel the Immune Mechanisms Underlying Chronic Disease
NOV 19, 2020
Parasitic Worms Help Unravel the Immune Mechanisms Underlying Chronic Disease
Parasitic worms known as helminths have a complicated relationship with the immune systems of the hosts they invade. Ter ...
Loading Comments...