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Frontiers in Obesity

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Endocrinology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2022) | Viewed by 23303

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Department of Surgical Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Interests: obesity

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Rome Unitelma Sapienza, Rome, Italy
Interests: obesity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The incidence of obesity has in recent years grown rapidly worldwide, both in developing and in developed countries, exceeding all expectations. Obesity is a chronic disease and is one of the major risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its comorbidities. It is also becoming one of the most important reasons for reduced life quality and life expectancy. It is common in every age group from childhood to old age, and it results in impaired health and premature death, not only affecting physical and mental health but also impairing the economy all over the world.

Body weight is regulated by various physiological mechanisms that maintain the balance between energy intake and energy expenditure, accumulation, and consumption. Obesity is the major cause for the insurgence of several disorders, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, and in turn cardiovascular diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and kidney failure. Obesity is also responsible for sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and several mental problems such as depression and anxiety. Obesity leads to increased inflammation that increases the risk of many cancer types (breast, colon, endometrial, kidney, gallbladder, and liver).

Despite all the efforts from the scientific communities and local centers of prevention and treatment, everything seems to fail. Multidisciplinary and multidirectional approaches aimed at the common goal of a healthy lifestyle, together with correct dietary advice, physical activity, pharmacological innervations, bariatric surgery, and phycological support and coaching seem to represent the best form of management of obesity. Nevertheless, new strategic, therapeutic, and simplified approaches are necessary.

The aim of this Special Issue is to identify, understand, treat, and prevent obesity and all the related diseases, increasing, in turn, the quality and duration of life. We encourage authors to submit original research papers or review articles focused on the following topics:

  • Molecular and hormonal control involved in obesity and metabolic syndrome;
  • Obesity in andrology: hypogonadism/erectile dysfunction and male fertility/infertility;
  • Metabolic syndrome and PCOS;
  • Obesity and female sexual disfunction and infertility.

Prof. Dr. Davide Francomano
Prof. Dr. Alfredo Genco
Dr. Enrico Prosperi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • obesity
  • diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
  • andrology
  • infertility

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 22366 KiB  
Article
Loss of Uncoupling Protein 1 Expression in the Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Predicts Childhood Obesity
by Katalin Gyurina, Mariia Yarmak, László Sasi-Szabó, Sarolta Molnár, Gábor Méhes and Tamás Röszer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(23), 16706; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242316706 - 24 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1379
Abstract
Stimulation of thermogenesis by inducing uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in adipocytes is thought to promote weight loss by increasing energy expenditure, and it is postulated that the human newborn has thermogenic subcutaneous fat depots. However, it remains unclear whether a relevant number [...] Read more.
Stimulation of thermogenesis by inducing uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in adipocytes is thought to promote weight loss by increasing energy expenditure, and it is postulated that the human newborn has thermogenic subcutaneous fat depots. However, it remains unclear whether a relevant number of UCP1-expressing (UCP1+) adipocytes exist in the early postnatal life. Here we studied the distribution of UCP1 and the expression of thermogenic genes in the subcutaneous adipose tissues of the human fetus, infant and child. We show that the deep layer of human fetal and neonatal subcutaneous fat, particularly the abdominal wall, is rich in UCP1+ adipocytes. These adipocytes develop in the late third trimester and persist throughout childhood, expressing a panel of genes linked to mitochondrial biogenesis and thermogenesis. During the early childhood adiposity rebound—a critical phase that determines obesity risk later in life—the absence of adipose tissue UCP1 expression in children with normal body mass index (BMI) correlates with an obesity-associated gene expression signature. Finally, UCP1 expression is negatively correlated with BMI z-score and adipocyte size in infants and children. Overall, our results show that the absence of UCP1 expression in adipose tissue is an early indicator of adipose tissue expansion in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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14 pages, 2161 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Changes of BVRA Protein Levels Occur in Response to Insulin: A Pilot Study in Humans
by Flavia Agata Cimini, Antonella Tramutola, Ilaria Barchetta, Valentina Ceccarelli, Elena Gangitano, Simona Lanzillotta, Chiara Lanzillotta, Maria Gisella Cavallo and Eugenio Barone
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(8), 7282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24087282 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1446
Abstract
Biliverdin reductase-A (BVRA) is involved in the regulation of insulin signaling and the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Previous research showed that BVRA alterations are associated with the aberrant activation of insulin signaling in dysmetabolic conditions. However, whether BVRA protein levels change dynamically within [...] Read more.
Biliverdin reductase-A (BVRA) is involved in the regulation of insulin signaling and the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Previous research showed that BVRA alterations are associated with the aberrant activation of insulin signaling in dysmetabolic conditions. However, whether BVRA protein levels change dynamically within the cells in response to insulin and/or glucose remains an open question. To this aim, we evaluated changes of intracellular BVRA levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collected during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in a group of subjects with different levels of insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, we looked for significant correlations with clinical measures. Our data show that BVRA levels change dynamically during the OGTT in response to insulin, and greater BVRA variations occur in those subjects with lower insulin sensitivity. Changes of BVRA significantly correlate with indexes of increased insulin resistance and insulin secretion (HOMA-IR, HOMA-β, and insulinogenic index). At the multivariate regression analysis, the insulinogenic index independently predicted increased BVRA area under curve (AUC) during the OGTT. This pilot study showed, for the first time, that intracellular BVRA protein levels change in response to insulin during OGTT and are greater in subjects with lower insulin sensitivity, supporting the role of BVR-A in the dynamic regulation of the insulin signaling pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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15 pages, 3932 KiB  
Article
SAMM50 Regulates Thermogenesis of Beige Adipocytes Differentiated from Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells by Balancing Mitochondrial Dynamics
by Se-Jun Park, Dong-Hyun Shon, Jae-Hyun Kim, Yang-Hwan Ryu and Yong Ko
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(12), 6764; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23126764 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2187
Abstract
Brown/beige adipocyte thermogenesis is a process that is important for energy balance. The thermogenesis of brown/beige adipocytes occurs in the mitochondria, which is modulated by the dynamic balance between mitochondrial fusion and fission. Mitophagy is also involved in mitochondrial dynamics. The sorting and [...] Read more.
Brown/beige adipocyte thermogenesis is a process that is important for energy balance. The thermogenesis of brown/beige adipocytes occurs in the mitochondria, which is modulated by the dynamic balance between mitochondrial fusion and fission. Mitophagy is also involved in mitochondrial dynamics. The sorting and assembly machinery (SAM) complex protein, SAMM50, plays a key role in mitochondrial dynamics and quality control through regulating mitophagy. However, the roles of SAMM50 in the thermogenesis of beige adipocytes remain unknown. Thus, the objective of this study was to conduct functional analyses of SAMM50. The expression of mitochondrial fusion genes was repressed by SAMM50 knockdown but was not altered by SAMM50 overexpression. These results agreed with the distribution of the fluorescence-stained mitochondria and an mtDNA copy number. In contrast, the expression of mitochondrial fission genes showed an opposite outcome. As a result, suppression by the SAMM50 shRNA inhibited the expression of thermogenic genes (UCP1, PPARGC1A, DIO2, ELOVL3, CIDEA, and CIDEC) and mitochondrial-related genes (CYCS, COX7A1, TFAM, CPT1B, and CPT2). Conversely, SAMM50 overexpression promoted the expression of the thermogenic genes and mitochondrial genes. Thus, SAMM50 links the balance between the mitochondrial dynamics and thermogenesis of beige adipocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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Review

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22 pages, 852 KiB  
Review
The Role of Molecular and Hormonal Factors in Obesity and the Effects of Physical Activity in Children
by Jerónimo Aragón-Vela, Jesús Alcalá-Bejarano Carrillo, Aurora Moreno-Racero and Julio Plaza-Diaz
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(23), 15413; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms232315413 - 6 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5397
Abstract
Obesity and overweight are defined as abnormal fat accumulations. Adipose tissue consists of more than merely adipocytes; each adipocyte is closely coupled with the extracellular matrix. Adipose tissue stores excess energy through expansion. Obesity is caused by the abnormal expansion of adipose tissue [...] Read more.
Obesity and overweight are defined as abnormal fat accumulations. Adipose tissue consists of more than merely adipocytes; each adipocyte is closely coupled with the extracellular matrix. Adipose tissue stores excess energy through expansion. Obesity is caused by the abnormal expansion of adipose tissue as a result of adipocyte hypertrophy and hyperplasia. The process of obesity is controlled by several molecules, such as integrins, kindlins, or matrix metalloproteinases. In children with obesity, metabolomics studies have provided insight into the existence of unique metabolic profiles. As a result of low-grade inflammation in the system, abnormalities were observed in several metabolites associated with lipid, carbohydrate, and amino acid pathways. In addition, obesity and related hormones, such as leptin, play an instrumental role in regulating food intake and contributing to childhood obesity. The World Health Organization states that physical activity benefits the heart, the body, and the mind. Several noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes, can be prevented and managed through physical activity. In this work, we reviewed pediatric studies that examined the molecular and hormonal control of obesity and the influence of physical activity on children with obesity or overweight. The purpose of this review was to examine some orchestrators involved in this disease and how they are related to pediatric populations. A larger number of randomized clinical trials with larger sample sizes and long-term studies could lead to the discovery of new key molecules as well as the detection of significant factors in the coming years. In order to improve the health of the pediatric population, omics analyses and machine learning techniques can be combined in order to improve treatment decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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30 pages, 2475 KiB  
Review
Factors Associated with White Fat Browning: New Regulators of Lipid Metabolism
by Peiwen Zhang, Yuxu He, Shuang Wu, Xinrong Li, Xutao Lin, Mailin Gan, Lei Chen, Ye Zhao, Lili Niu, Shunhua Zhang, Xuewei Li, Li Zhu and Linyuan Shen
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(14), 7641; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23147641 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 7710
Abstract
Mammalian adipose tissue can be divided into white and brown adipose tissue based on its colour, location, and cellular structure. Certain conditions, such as sympathetic nerve excitement, can induce the white adipose adipocytes into a new type of adipocytes, known as beige adipocytes. [...] Read more.
Mammalian adipose tissue can be divided into white and brown adipose tissue based on its colour, location, and cellular structure. Certain conditions, such as sympathetic nerve excitement, can induce the white adipose adipocytes into a new type of adipocytes, known as beige adipocytes. The process, leading to the conversion of white adipocytes into beige adipocytes, is called white fat browning. The dynamic balance between white and beige adipocytes is closely related to the body’s metabolic homeostasis. Studying the signal transduction pathways of the white fat browning might provide novel ideas for the treatment of obesity and alleviation of obesity-related glucose and lipid metabolism disorders. This article aimed to provide an overview of recent advances in understanding white fat browning and the role of BAT in lipid metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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14 pages, 1509 KiB  
Review
Muscle and Adipose Tissue Communicate with Extracellular Vesicles
by Sophie Rome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(13), 7052; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23137052 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3809
Abstract
In numerous body locations, muscle and adipose tissue are in close contact. Both tissues are endocrine organs that release cytokines, playing a crutial role in the control of tissue homeostasis in health and diseases. Within this context, the identification of the signals involved [...] Read more.
In numerous body locations, muscle and adipose tissue are in close contact. Both tissues are endocrine organs that release cytokines, playing a crutial role in the control of tissue homeostasis in health and diseases. Within this context, the identification of the signals involved in muscle–fat crosstalk has been a hot topic over the last 15 years. Recently, it has been discovered that adipose tissue and muscles can release information embedded in lipid-derived nanovesicles called ‘extracellular vesicles’ (EVs), which can modulate the phenotype and the homeostasis of neighboring recipient cells. This article reviews knowledge on EVs and their involvement in the communication between adipose tissue and muscle in several body locations. Even if the works are scarce, they have revolutionized our vision in the field of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Frontiers in Obesity)
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