Adipocyte size and number have been suggested to predict the development of metabolic complications in obesity. However, the genetic and environmental determinants behind this phenomenon remain unclear.
We studied this question in rare-weight discordant (intra-pair difference (?) body mass index (BMI) 3-10 kg m(-2), n=15) and concordant (?BMI 0-2 kg m(-)(2), n=5) young adult (22-35 years) monozygotic twin pairs identified from 10 birth cohorts of Finnish twins (n=5 500 pairs). Subcutaneous abdominal adipocyte size from surgical biopsies was measured under a light microscope. Adipocyte number was calculated from cell size and total body fat (D ? A).
The concordant pairs were remarkably similar for adipocyte size and number (intra-class correlations 0.91-0.92, P
Nutritional epidemiology is increasingly shifting its focus from studying single nutrients to the exploration of the whole diet utilizing dietary pattern analysis. We analyzed associations between habitual diet (including macronutrients, dietary patterns, biomarker of fish intake) and lipoprotein particle subclass profile in young adults.
Complete dietary data (food-frequency questionnaire) and lipoprotein subclass profile (via nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy) were available for 663 subjects from the population-based FinnTwin12 study (57% women, age: 21-25 y). The serum docosahexaenoic to total fatty acid ratio was used as a biomarker of habitual fish consumption. Factor analysis identified 5 dietary patterns: "Fruit and vegetables", "Meat", "Sweets and desserts", "Junk food" and "Fish". After adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, waist circumference, physical activity, smoking status and alcohol intake, the "Junk food" pattern was positively related to serum triglycerides (r = 0.12, P = 0.002), a shift in the subclass distribution of VLDL toward larger particles (r = 0.12 for VLDL size, P
Exercise behavior, cardiorespiratory fitness, and obesity are strongly influenced by genetic factors. By studying young adult twins, we examined to what extent these interrelated traits have shared genetic and environmental etiologies. We studied 304 twin individuals selected from the population-based FinnTwin16 study. Physical activity was assessed with the Baecke questionnaire, yielding three indexes: sport index, leisure-time index, and work index. In this study, we focused on sport index, which describes sports participation. Body composition was determined using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and cardiorespiratory fitness using a bicycle ergometer exercise test with gas exchange analysis. The Baecke sport index was associated with high maximal oxygen uptake adjusted for lean body mass (Vo(2max)[adj]) (r = 0.40), with low body fat percentage (BF%) (r = -0.44) and low waist circumference (WC) (r = -0.29). Heritability estimates for the key traits were as follows: 56% for sport index, 71% for Vo(2max)[adj], 77% for body mass index, 66% for WC, and 68% for BF%. The association between sport index and Vo(2max) was mostly explained by genetic factors (70%), as were both the association between sport index and BF% (71%) and that between sport index and WC (59%). Our results suggest that genetic factors explain a considerable part of the associations between sports participation, cardiorespiratory fitness, and obesity.
Obesity is a genetically complex disorder that produces a myriad of health problems. Most of the recognized complications of obesity are not only strongly influenced by lifestyle factors, but also present with independent genetic predispositions that are notoriously difficult to disentangle in humans. Most studies on the causes and consequences of acquired obesity are encumbered by the incomplete ability to control for genetic influences. However, utilizing a unique experiment of nature, namely monozygotic twins (MZ) discordant for obesity as 'clonal controls' of obese and non-obese individuals has enabled the fine characterization of the effects and possible antecedents of acquired obesity while controlling for the genetic background, as well as pointed to novel obesity predisposing candidate genes. This review is a distillation of the findings from more than 10 years of research done in an exceptionally well-characterized collection of MZ and dizygotic (DZ) twins, based on the Finnish Twin Cohorts. Topics covered include the nature of development of obesity from the childhood onwards, the role of exercise in modifying the genetic susceptibility, the resulting inflammatory, prediabetic and preatherosclerotic changes in whole body and adipose tissue physiology, as well as the newest insights provided by the omics revolution.
1) To estimate the heritability of body mass index (BMI) in twins aged 16y and 17y, with a special emphasis on gender-specific genetic effects and 2) to compare heights, weights, BMIs, and prevalences of 'overweight' (BMI > or = 25 kg/m2) in these twins and in singletons aged 16.5y.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal epidemiological questionnaire study of twins at ages 16y and 17 y, and cross-sectional study of singletons at age 16.5y.
BMI (kg/m2) was calculated from self-reported heights (m) and weights (kg).
4884 twins (2299 boys, 2585 girls) at baseline (age 16 y), 4401 twins (2002 boys, 2399 girls) at age 17 y, and 2509 singletons (1147 boys, 1362 girls) at age 16.5 y. Both twin and singleton samples are nationally representative.
At the ages of 16y and 17y, genetic effects accounted for over 80% of the interindividual variation of BMI. The correlations for male-female pairs were smaller than for either male-male or female-female dizygotic pairs. The singletons, especially the boys, had a higher BMI than the twins. Nine percent of singleton boys, but only 4-6% of twin boys and twin and singleton girls were 'overweight' (BMI > or = 25 kg/m2).
Among adolescents, genetic factors play a significant role in the causes of variation in BMI. The genetic modelling suggested that the sets of genes explaining the variation of BMI may differ in males and females. At this age, the twin boys, but not girls, seem to be leaner than singletons. Further follow-up will indicate whether these small differences disappear, and if not, what implications it might have to the generalizability of twin studies.
Little is known about epigenetic alterations associated with subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in obesity. Our aim was to study genome-wide DNA methylation and gene expression differences in SAT in monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs who are discordant for body mass index (BMI). This design completely matches lean and obese groups for genetic background, age, gender and shared environment.
14We analyzed DNA methylome and gene expression from SAT, together with body composition (magnetic resonance imaging/spectroscopy) and glucose tolerance test, lipids and C-reactive protein from 26 rare BMI-discordant (intrapair difference in BMI ?3?kg?m(-2)) MZ twin pairs identified from 10 birth cohorts of young adult Finnish twins.
We found 17 novel obesity-associated genes that were differentially methylated across the genome between heavy and lean co-twins. Nine of them were also differentially expressed. Pathway analyses indicated that dysregulation of SAT in obesity includes a paradoxical downregulation of lipo/adipogenesis and upregulation of inflammation and extracellular matrix remodeling. Furthermore, CpG sites whose methylation correlated with metabolically harmful fat depots (intra-abdominal and liver fat) also correlated with measures of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and low-grade inflammation, thus suggesting that epigenetic alterations in SAT are associated with the development of unhealthy obesity.
This is the first study in BMI-discordant MZ twin pairs reporting genome-wide DNA methylation and expression profiles in SAT. We found a number of novel genes and pathways whose methylation and expression patterns differ within the twin pairs, suggesting that the pathological adaptation of SAT to obesity is, at least in part, epigenetically regulated.
Cites: Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2012 Feb 28;3:2922645519
Cites: Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 Jul;32(7):1113-2118414424
To investigate whether the paradoxical weight gain associated with dieting is better related to genetic propensity to weight gain than to the weight loss episodes themselves.
Subjects included 4129 individual twins from the population-based FinnTwin16 study (90% of twins born in Finland 1975-1979). Weight and height were obtained from longitudinal surveys at 16, 17, 18 and 25 years, and number of lifetime intentional weight loss (IWL) episodes of more than 5 kg at 25 years.
IWLs predicted accelerated weight gain and risk of overweight. The odds of becoming overweight (body mass index (BMI)= 25 kg m(-2)) by 25 years were significantly greater in subjects with one (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.3-2.6, and OR 2.7, 1.7-4.3 in males and females, respectively), or two or more (OR 2.0, 1.3-3.3, and OR 5.2, 3.2-8.6, in males and females, respectively), IWLs compared with subjects with no IWL. In MZ pairs discordant for IWL, co-twins with at least one IWL were 0.4 kg m(-2) (P=0.041) heavier at 25 years than their non-dieting co-twins (no differences in baseline BMIs). In DZ pairs, co-twins with IWLs gained progressively more weight than non-dieting co-twins (BMI difference 1.7 kg m(-2) at 16 years and 2.2 kg m(-2) at 25 years, P
To explore the association of eating styles with overweight and obesity in young adults, controlling for identical genetic background in monozygotic twins.
Prospective twin cohort study.
Two-hundred and thirty-three women and 2060 men from the FinnTwin16 study, aged 16 years at baseline (T1), and ranging from 22 to 27 years at the time of the nutritional assessment (T4).
Eating styles (Restrictive/overeating, health-conscious, snacking, emotional and externally induced), self-reported at T4, were contrasted with body mass indices (BMIs) at T1 and T4.
At T4, obesity (BMI>or=30Kg/m(2)) was significantly cross-sectionally associated with restrictive eating, frequent snacks, eating in the evening, avoiding fatty foods and failure to maintain healthy eating patterns. These associations were independent of BMI at T1. Obese women self-reported more vulnerability to external eating cues and comfort eating than normal-weight women. However, in a multivariable model, only restrictive/overeating and health-conscious eating styles were significant correlates of obesity at T4, independent of gender and BMI at T1. When we controlled for genetic background restricting the analysis to the 39 female and 45 male monozygotic twin pairs discordant for obesity or overweight (BMI>or=25Kg/m(2)), restrictive/overeating eating style was still statistically significantly associated with excess weight.
The eating styles of obese young adults differ from their normal-weight counterparts: restrictive eating, overeating and fewer healthy food choices are associated with obesity. Different eating styles may partially explain weight differences in individuals with identical genetic background.
We investigated whether BMI predicts type 2 diabetes in twins and to what extent that is explained by common genetic factors.
This was a population-based twin cohort study. Monozygotic (n = 4,076) and dizygotic (n = 9,109) non-diabetic twin pairs born before 1958 answered a questionnaire in 1975, from which BMI was obtained. Information on incident cases of diabetes was obtained by linkage to nationwide registers until 2005.
Altogether, 1,332 twins (6.3% of men, 5.1% of women) developed type 2 diabetes. The HR for type 2 diabetes increased monotonically with a mean of 1.22 (95% CI 1.20-1.24) per BMI unit and of 1.97 (95% CI 1.87-2.08) per SD of BMI. The HRs for lean, overweight, obese and morbidly obese participants were 0.59, 2.96, 6.80 and 13.64 as compared with normal weight participants. Model heritability estimates for bivariate variance due to an additive genetic component and non-shared environmental component were 75% (men) and 71% (women) for BMI, and 73% and 64%, respectively for type 2 diabetes. The correlations between genetic variance components (r (g)) indicated that one fifth of the covariance of BMI and type 2 diabetes was due to shared genetic influences. Although the mean monozygotic concordance for type 2 diabetes was approximately twice the dizygotic one, age of onset of diabetes within twin pair members varied greatly, irrespective of zygosity.
A 28-year follow-up of adult Finnish twins showed that despite high trait heritability estimates, only a fraction of covariation in BMI and incident type 2 diabetes was of genetic origin.
Study how the dietary intake affects the fecal microbiota of a group of obese individuals after a 6-week very low-energy diet (VLED) and thereafter during a follow-up period of 5, 8, and 12 months. Additionally, we compared two different methods, fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and real-time PCR (qPCR), for the quantification of fecal samples.
Sixteen subjects participated in a 12-month dietary intervention which consisted of a VLED high in protein and low in carbohydrates followed by a personalized diet plan, combined with exercise and lifestyle counseling. Fecal samples were analyzed using qPCR, FISH, and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.
The VLED affected the fecal microbiota, in particular bifidobacteria that decreased approximately two logs compared with the baseline numbers. The change in numbers of the bacterial groups studied followed the dietary intake and not the weight variations during the 12-month intervention. Methanogens were detected in 56% of the participants at every sampling point, regardless of the dietary intake. Moreover, although absolute numbers of comparable bacterial groups were similar between FISH and qPCR measurements, relative proportions were higher according to FISH results.
Changes in the fecal microbial numbers of obese individuals were primarily affected by the dietary intake rather than weight changes.