Obesity contributes on increasing the risk of diabetes, hypertension, and many other metabolic diseases. However, one third of obese population has relatively healthy metabolic status, or called metabolic healthy obesity. Recently, a study attempts to distinguish the two groups, namely metabolic healthy vs. abnormal obesity, by adopting a metabolomics study to identify important metabolites and metabolic pathways. This study has published in August in International Journal of Obesity, and it is conducted by Mr. Hung-Hsin Chen and Associate Prof. Po-Hsiu Kuo from National Taiwan University.
This study applied two metabolomic methods, liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, in the serum samples of 34 metabolic healthy obesity and 34 metabolic abnormal obesity subjects. In total, 138 detected metabolites could distinguish the two groups well, and 23 metabolites are found to be significantly different in the univariate analyses. “The prediction accuracy can achieve 89.7 percent based on the 23 significant metabolites”, said Prof. Po-Hsiu Kuo.
In addition, the authors applied pathway analysis in this study to provide more comprehensive view about the metabolic regulation in obesity. Four metabolic pathways, including fatty acid biosynthesis, phenylalanine metabolism, propanoate metabolism, and valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation, are suggested to involve in the regulation of metabolic status among obesity. “Considering the findings from univariate and pathway analyses, mitochondrial and liver function might be involved in the underlying metabolic regulation in obesity,” Mr. Hung-Hsin Chen stated in discussion. As the first metabolomics study applying in metabolic health and abnormal obesity, it provides implication and potential direction for future research about the development of metabolic diseases in obesity.