Childhood obesity has grown very fast over recent decades and now it represents a serious public health problem. The number of adipocytes is set in childhood and adolescence and then, an effective understanding of the development of adipose tissue during these periods will help in the prevention of this pathology.
The current study aimed to determine which adipose tissue characteristics are related to a high weight Z-score in childhood.
Patients and Methods
The current study included 82 children aged 5-130 months who underwent inguinal hernia surgery. Anthropometric variables were measured, and a nutritional and physical activity questionnaire was completed. Subcutaneous adipose tissue samples, taken during the operation, were analyzed for preadipocyte number, adipocyte volume, fatty acid composition (gas chromatography of FAME), and relative gene expression of various genes (real time PCR).
The results showed that children with a higher weight Z-score spend more time in sedentary activities and less time running or involved in active games. SCD-1 activity index, arachidonic/linoleic index, and adipocyte volume were significantly higher in children with a weight Z-score greater than 0. The preadipocyte number and the genetic expression of the studied genes did not differ between the groups. A multiple regression analysis was done to determine which variables were related to the weight Z-score. R2 values indicated that the model which included adipocyte volume, SREBP-1c, SCD-1 expression, and activity index, predicted 59% of the variability in the weight Z-score among the children. The main variables associated with adipocyte volume were PPARγ, Adiponectin, CB1R expressions, as well as the SCD-1 activity and normalized weight.
It was concluded that in childhood, the weight Z-score is related to adipocyte volume and adipose tissue gene expression.