The research published in the International Journal of Obesity on Tuesday 7th March shows that inflammation is a crucial and dangerous step in the development of obesity.
Warwick Medical School researchers Professor F P Cappuccio and Dr M A Miller have studied a large group of people, belonging to 3 different ethnic groups, and have measured a variety of markers of inflammatory activation and related these to measures of obesity or fatness such as body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR). The study clearly showed that the levels of sE-selectin, a marker of inflammation produced by artery vessel walls, are strongly associated with measures of obesity, and in particular with the amount of fat around the waist. The research found that every 2% increase in sE-selectin led to the increase of 1 unit in Body Mass Index and 0.01 units in Waist - Hip Ratios.
This inflammation can directly trigger thrombosis, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
There have been suggestions from earlier studies of small patient groups that inflammation had this importance but this is the first ever study to find these results across an unselected population of healthy subjects which covered both sexes and three ethnic groups (White, South Asian and people of African origin)
Dr Miller and Professor Cappuccio said:
"This study highlights the importance of the activation of the endothelium, the inner layer of the artery vessel wall, in the metabolic processes leading to obesity and cardiovascular disease". "This observation opens opportunities to develop new treatments that deal directly with inflammation either through diet or drugs".