This study aims to examine the role of weight gain in adipose tissue immune cell influx and development of obesity related cardiometabolic disorders. Adipose tissue-mediated chronic systemic inflammation is implicated in the development of cardiometabolic disorders in obesity. Therefore, resolution of adipose tissue inflammation may be key to ameliorating obesity-associated dyslipidemia, insulin-resistance, and cardiovascular disease. Proinflammatory cytokines contribute to the initial influx of immune cells into adipose tissue during weight gain. However, mechanisms regulating these cytokines in the adipose tissue milieu and the effects of weight gain on adipose tissue are not completely understood.
The study proposes to investigate the molecular events contributing to increased infiltration of macrophages and T-cells into adipose tissue during weight gain. The central hypothesis is that in lean subjects (with low body fat mass), healthy fat gain which is associated with decreased expression of proinflammatory cytokines. However, in obesity (high body fat mass), adipose tissue is altered, which permits increased expression of inflammatory cytokines and further fat gain results in influx of immune cells. To test the hypothesis, adipose tissue from well characterized lean (control, with low body fat) and obese individuals (with high body fat) at baseline and after a modest 5% weight gain will be used. Adipose tissue samples after subsequent weight loss will also be examined.
For this study, obesity will be defined by body composition rather than body mass index (BMI), as several studies have shown that BMI does not adequately define obesity and several individuals with normal BMI may indeed have high body fat mass. Individuals with body fat content ≤25% for men, & <35% for women) will be considered lean and individuals with body fat content >25% for men, ≥35% for women will be considered obese.