Researchers discover two subtypes of obesity, one is more dangerous than the other
To determine if a person is obese, body mass index is generally used. But recent studies suggest that this approach is not completely reliable. Epigenetics and metabolic disease researchers at Van Andel Institute of Michigan discovered that there are two types of adiposity and one of them develops according to factors still little known to scientists.
One of the two types of disease identified is characterized by greater fat mass, and the other by fat and lean muscle mass. During the tests, it was concluded that the second category is deadlier than the first and develops according to parameters that go beyond the simple dietary habits of the individual.
Andrew Pospisilik, an epigenetics and metabolic diseases researcher at Michigan’s Van Andel Institute, was the study’s lead author. The results of the study are in Nature Metabolism.
The onset of obesity does not entirely depend on the behavior of the individual
The second type of adiposity identified triggers inflammation and exposes the patient to various types of cancers. Looking into the question, the researchers carried out tests on mice in the laboratory. To their surprise, some of the guinea pigs developed different types of obesity while the whole population grew up in the same conditions.
It was therefore found that factors other than dietary habits and the environment are the cause of the onset of the disease. Scientists therefore suspect epigenetic markers which are non-coding modifications made to DNA molecules, altering the way genes are expressed.
Scientists therefore believe that this type of obesity seems to be triggered by chance, which confirms the phenomenon of unexplained phenotypic variation.
“We noticed two distinct subtypes of obesity, one of which appeared to be epigenetically triggerable and is characterized by high insulin levels and a strong epigenetic signature. »
For more appropriate diagnoses
The discovery highlights the subtle differences that exist between each individual and the root causes of their ailments. Researchers have also noticed that various means of treating the disease have different effects depending on the type of obesity. This reality supports the theories on the singularity of the etiology of each patient and this opens the way to new research.
For the time being, scientists are trying to better understand the two types of adiposity they have identified in order to allow doctors to diagnose easily and efficiently.