Carrying a few extra pounds of fat, in most people, sets off an avalanche of inflammation. The inflammation is actually what winds up doing all the damage, leading to cardiovascular disease, diabetes etc.
Science is still trying to figure out why full fat cells, spit out so many inflammatory mediators.
Fat cells from tweedle dum and tweedle dee
A group of scientists from Finland took a peak at the membranes of fat cells from identical twins. The interesting part of the study, is that these were not ordinary sets of twins. In each set, one twin was fat and the other thin.
This meant, that when they were peaking at the fat cells, the only significant difference was how much fat was in them. Since the twins share the same set of genes and they also grew up in the same environment.
Full fat cells membranes were the same but different
The physical properties of the membranes, measured as the fluidity, from both full and empty fat cells was pretty much the same.
But when the actual composition of the fatty acids within the membrane were examined – there was a difference. The types of fatty acids had changed – omega 6 fatty acids were up and omega-3 fatty acids were down, in the full fat cells.
Full fat cells adjust to maintain normal fluidity
It appeared that, as the fat cell filled up with fat, in order to ensure that the membrane still worked properly, little adjustments were made.
But those little adjustments have big consequences.
The fatty acids that swop into the membranes cause inflammation. Inflammation brings about the dreaded consequences of obesity.
Diet influences fatty acid status
The kinds of fats a person eats can affect what types of lipids are present in the body.Association of Lipidome Remodeling in the Adipocyte Membrane with Acquired Obesity in Humans. PLoS Biology (2011) 9 (6): e1000623. Kirsi H. Pietiläinen, Tomasz Róg, Tuulikki Seppänen-Laakso, Sam Virtue, Peddinti Gopalacharyulu, Jing Tang, Sergio Rodriguez-Cuenca, Arkadiusz Maciejewski, Jussi Naukkarinen, Anna-Liisa Ruskeepää, Perttu S. Niemelä, Laxman Yetukuri, Chong Yew Tan, Vidya Velagapudi, Sandra Castillo, Heli Nygren, Tuulia Hyötyläinen, Aila Rissanen, Jaakko Kaprio, Hannele Yki-Järvinen, Ilpo Vattulainen, Antonio Vidal-Puig, Matej Oreši
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