Obesity is a global epidemic, contributing significantly to chronic non-communicable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic flexibility, the ability of organisms to switch between metabolic substrates, is found to be impaired in obesity, possibly contributing to the development of chronic illnesses. Several studies have shown the improvement of metabolic flexibility after weight loss. In this study, we have mapped the cellular metabolism of the adipose tissue from a weight loss study to stratify the cellular metabolic processes and metabolic flexibility during weight loss. We have found that for a majority of the individuals, cellular metabolism was downregulated during weight loss, with gene expression of all major cellular metabolic processes (such as glycolysis, fatty acid β-oxidation etc.) being lowered during weight loss and weight maintenance. Parallel to this, the gene expression of immune system related processes involving interferons and interleukins increased. Previously, studies have indicated both negative and positive effects of post-weight loss inflammation in the adipose tissue with regards to weight loss or obesity and its co-morbidities; however, mechanistic links need to be constructed in order to determine the effects further. Our study contributes towards this goal by mapping the changes in gene expression across the weight loss study and indicates possible cross-talk between cellular metabolism and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1651
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2020

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