Metabolically healthy versus metabolically unhealthy obesity

Published on Mar 1, 2019in Metabolism-clinical and Experimental6.51
· DOI :10.1016/j.metabol.2018.11.009
Carla Iacobini25
Estimated H-index: 25
(Sapienza University of Rome),
Giuseppe Pugliese45
Estimated H-index: 45
(Sapienza University of Rome)
+ 2 AuthorsStefano Menini32
Estimated H-index: 32
(Sapienza University of Rome)
Abstract Obesity-related disease complications reduce life quality and expectancy and increase health-care costs. Some studies have suggested that obesity not always entails metabolic abnormalities and increased risk of cardiometabolic complications. Because of the lack of universally accepted criteria to identify metabolically healthy obesity (MHO), its prevalence varies widely among studies. Moreover, the prognostic value of MHO is hotly debated, mainly because it likely shifts gradually towards metabolically unhealthy obesity (MUO). In this review, we outline the differential factors contributing to the metabolic heterogeneity of obesity by discussing the behavioral, genetic, phenotypical, and biological aspects associated with each of the two metabolic phenotypes (MHO and MUO) of obesity and their clinical implications. Particular emphasis will be laid on the role of adipose tissue biology and function, including genetic determinants of body fat distribution, depot-specific fat metabolism, adipose tissue plasticity and, particularly, adipogenesis. Finally, the emerging role of gut microbiota in obesity and adipose tissue dysfunction as well as the search for novel biomarkers for the obesity-related metabolic traits and associated diseases will be briefly presented. A better understanding of the main determinants of a healthy metabolic status in obesity would allow promotion of this favorable condition by targeting the relevant pathways.
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