Obesity and Body Fat Distribution

Description: Obesity is an epidemic health problem worldwide that impacts on the risk and prognosis of many diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, and cancer. However, not all obese patients have the same risk of developing these disorders. Individuals with peripheral obesity, i.e., fat distributed subcutaneously in the gluteofemoral region, are at little or no risk of the common medical complications of obesity, whereas individuals with central obesity, i.e., fat accumulated in visceral depots, are prone to these complications. The research leading to this invention explored the hypothesis that patterns of fat distribution and perhaps, to some degree, obesity itself may have a developmental genetic origin. The inventors found major differences in expression of multiple genes involved in embryonic development and pattern specification between adipocytes taken from intra-abdominal and subcutaneous depots in rodents and humans. Some of these developmental genes exhibit changes in expression that are closely correlated with level of obesity and the pattern of fat distribution. Clinical & Commercial Utility: The gene expression profiling carried out by the inventors has led to the identification of numerous genes and proteins whose expression is differentially regulated between adipocytes from intra-abdominal (visceral) fat and subcutaneous (peripheral) fat. These proteins are potential targets for further research into the mechanisms of obesity and may also be promising targets for therapeutic intervention. The gene expression profiles may also be useful in diagnosing the predisposition to obesity, or in managing obese patients.
A U.S. patent application claiming this invention has been filed.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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