A new study suggests that genetic effects on abdominal obesity may be more pronounced than those on general obesity when weight regains. People with a genetic predisposition to abdominal adiposity gained more weight around the waist after weight loss than other people.
However, people with a genetic predisposition to a higher body mass index (BMI) did not regain more weight than others after weight loss.
Genetic effects on abdominal obesity
These results come from a secondary analysis of data from participants in the Look AHEAD trial who had type 2 diabetes and overweight/obesity and who lost at least 3% of their initial weight after one year of intensive intervention on lifestyle or control, and which were followed for three additional years.
Publication and conclusions
The study showed that change in waist circumference (or abdominal obesity) is regulated by a pathway distinct from overall obesity during weight regain , the researchers report in their article, published in Diabetes in July. “These results are the first of their kind and provide new information on the mechanisms of weight regain,” they conclude.
“It was already known in the scientific literature that genes associated with abdominal fat deposition were different from those associated with obesity in general,” said doctoral student Malene Revsbech Christiansen and Novo associate professor Tuomas O. Kilpeläinen. Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, in a joint email to Medscape.
Genetic variants associated with obesity are expressed in the central nervous system. However, genetic variants associated with waist circumference are expressed in adipose tissues and could be involved in insulin sensitivity, or in the shape and differentiation of adipose cells, by influencing the size and number of these cells.
Therapeutic implications and precautions
If these genes can serve as targets for therapeutic agents, patients who have the genetic variants that predispose them to higher BMI-adjusted waist-to-hip ratio (WHR-adjBMI) could benefit, they said. “However, this is a preliminary study that found an association between genetic variants and changes in abdominal fat during weight loss,” Christiansen and Kilpeläinen cautioned.
Further studies are needed to test associations in people who do not have obesity or type 2 diabetes and to investigate this research question in people who have had bariatric surgery or taken medications to lose weight. weight, “especially now that Wegovy has gained popularity.”
Towards precision medicine
“ Genetic profiling ,” Christiansen and Kilpeläinen note, “is becoming increasingly popular as prices fall and future treatments move toward precision medicine, where treatments are tailored to individuals rather than to a specific population. 'unique size'".
In the future, genetic testing may help identify those most predisposed to abdominal fat deposition, requiring further monitoring and assistance with lifestyle changes.