Metabolic profiling of visceral adipose tissue from obese subjects with or without metabolic syndrome
Obesity represents one of the most complex public health challenges and has recently reached epidemic proportions. Obesity is also considered to be primarily responsible for the rising prevalence of metabolic syndrome, defined as the coexistence in the same individual of several risk factors for atherosclerosis, including dyslipidaemia, hypertension and hyperglycaemia, as well as for cancer. Additionally, the presence of three of the five risk factors (abdominal obesity, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high fasting glucose and high blood pressure) characterizes metabolic syndrome, which has serious clinical consequences. The current study was conducted in order to identify metabolic differences in visceral adipose tissue collected from obese (BMI 43-48) human subjects who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, obese individuals who were metabolically healthy and non-obese healthy controls. Extensive gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) analyses were used to obtain the untargeted visceral adipose tissue metabolomics profiles of 481 metabolites belonging to all biochemical pathways. Our results indicated consistent increases in oxidative stress markers from the pathologically obese samples in addition to subtle markers of elevated glucose levels that may be consistent with metabolic syndrome. In the tissue derived from the pathologically obese subjects, there were significantly elevated levels of plasmalogens, which may be increased in response to oxidative changes in addition to changes in glycerol-phosphorylcholine, glycerol-phosphorylethanolamine glycerol-phosphorylserine, ceramides and sphingolipids. These data could be potentially helpful for recognizing new pathways that underlie the metabolic-vascular complications of obesity and may lead to the development of innovative targeted therapies.