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Obesity take its toll on distant organs, here's how

A team of researchers are trying to understand the link between obesity and the diseases caused due to it.

The researchers claim that we are yet to know the mechanism by which obesity causes disease in the organs that are distant from those where fat accumulation takes place.

Taru Tukiainen from Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), Helsinki, Finland and colleagues from the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US), will study the relationship between body mass index (BMI), a common-used way of measuring obesity and gene expression in 44 different tissue types, including some that are rarely accessible in the brain and internal organs.

"Most tissue sampling is invasive, but we were able to use the GTEx dataset of tissues from autopsy donors, and therefore sample a far wider range than is usually possible," Tukiainen explained.

The researchers said that simultaneous changes were noticed in response to obesity in almost all the tissues studied. "These results show that obesity really is a systemic condition, and particularly a condition of systemic inflammation. Interestingly, though, the changes in tissue function appeared to be only partially shared between different types of tissues; some tissues clearly act in pairs with one half of the pair compensating for - or enhancing - the dysfunction of the other. For instance, adipose tissue and adrenal glands, which are both organs secreting hormones essential to metabolism, often react to changes in BMI in completely opposite ways, including a decrease in metabolic activity in the former and an increase in the latter," Tukiainen added.

The study has been presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics.