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  • Excess weight gain after birth reduces thermogenesis and increases likelihood of adult obesity

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    Tuesday, May 29, 2007 3:18 am Email this article
    Excessive weight gain immediately after birth reduces brown adipose tissue thermogenesis and is likely to increase the likelihood of obesity throughout life according to a study done with rats by researchers from Oregon Health and Science University in Beaverton, Oregon, USA. Postnatal weight gain

    Excessive postnatal weight gain increases risk of obesity

    “Excess weight gain during the early postnatal period [that is, immediately after birth] increases the risk of persistent obesity into adulthood and impacts on the subsequent risk for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases,” the researchers note.


    Excessive weight gain, less thermogenesis

    Less thermogenesis when exposed to cold

    The study found that rats from a small liter showed excessive weight gain.

    They also found that the rats from a small liter showed less thermogenesis when exposed to cold. This was due to lower levels of uncoupling protein 1 (UPC1).

    (Thermogenesis is the burning of calories given off as heat. Uncoupling proteins are involved in this process.)


    Lower levels of Lipid Lipases

    Lower levels of enzymes to breakdown fat

    Rats from the small liter that showed excessive weight gain also had lower levels of lipid lipases, what are enzymes that breakdown fat.


    Beta-3 receptors

    Fewer beta-3 receptors and they were less responsive

    And finally, they found that the rats from the small liter had fewer beta-3 adrenergic receptors and the ones they did have were less responsive to being stimulated.

    (Beta-3 adrenergic receptors, when stimulated, burn fat without causing a loss of muscle.)



    Conclusion: Excessive postnatal weight gain lowers thermogenesis and likely to increase risk of adult obesity

    “Overall, these observations provide the first evidence that postnatal excess weight gain results in abnormalities in BAT [brown adipose tissue] thermogenesis and sympathetic outflow, which likely increases susceptibility to obesity in adulthood,” the paper concluded.


    Xiao XQ, Williams S, Grayson B, Glavas M, Cowley M, Smith M, Grove K. Excess weight gain during the early postnatal period is associated with permanent reprogramming of brown adipose tissue adaptive thermogenesis. Endocrinology. 2007 May 24.


    Division of Neuroscience
    Oregon National Primate Research Center
    Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
    Oregon Health & Science University
    505 NW 185th Avenue
    Beaverton, OR 97006 USA

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