Siberian Federal University: Researchers Explain Biochemistry of Obesity


A research team from Siberian Federal University and Krasnoyarsk State Medical University studied indicators that characterize various body morphotypes of young ladies and determined the connection with specific biomarkers, including antioxidant indicators of saliva and enzymatic activity of blood lymphocytes. According to the research results, the mesomorphic type is the most adaptive and demonstrates a high rate of metabolic processes and an active antioxidant system. Whereas in case of ladies with an andromorphic body type, the scholars found out a disproportion of prooxidants and antioxidants, and an imbalance between the processes of anabolism and catabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. According to the research authors, this may be the reason of overweight and obesity.

Over the last few years, the all-Russian medical examination for the citizens has been demanding clear criteria of the patient’s health status – quantitatively measured biomarkers, i.e. chemiluminescent indicators. Studying the latter, medical staff has revealed the activity of antioxidants in saliva and demonstrated the adaptive capabilities of the body (whether it is capable of dealing with stress adverse environmental factors). In addition, nowadays physicians are concerned about the effect of free radicals on the human body, since they have an extensive cytotoxic effect and destroy the genetic apparatus of the cell. Since intracellular metabolic processes are affected by stress, which in term changes the composition of saliva, peculiarities of the protein composition of this biological fluid can be considered as indicators of the impact of stress factors on the entire body.

“Our research has intended to identify the relationship between specific markers of saliva and blood, and indicators common to various types of body constitution, and then to understand how this affects the health of the girls. We studied blood and saliva samples of second- and third-year female students of Krasnoyarsk State Medical University and determined the antioxidant status of their saliva and the activity of NAD(P)-dependent dehydrogenases in the blood lymphocytes,” shared Oksana Kolenchukova, co-author, professor at the chair of biophysics, SibFU School of Fundamental Biology and Biotechnology.

The researchers measured the length and weight of the bodies, the width of the shoulders, pelvises, waists and hips circumferences of the female students. They also determined the body morphotypes (gynecomorphic, mesomorphic, andromorphic) and studied probable signs of inversion of sex formation.

“Sexual dimorphism characterizes a human as a species, which means that human females mainly differ from males in size and weight. There are three main female morphotypes, i.e. gynecomorphic (ultra-feminine, characterized by a narrow chest and a wide pelvis), mesomorphic (medium dimensions, shoulders are wider than the hips, and the waist is narrow), and andromorphic (from andros — man; considered an inversion of sexual dimorphism, since development follows the male scenario — a chest is wider than in case of gynecomorphic or mesomorphic types). Andromorph girls are tall, have long legs and narrow pelvises. According to our study, chemiluminescent and bioluminescent markers in girls with andromorphic morphotype indicate an imbalance between prooxidants and antioxidants,” explained Oksana Kolenchukova.

The scholars clarified that the analysis of bioluminescent markers of the girls with andromorphic type revealed an imbalance in the processes of anabolism and catabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. This is associated with disturbance of the cell functional activity and leads to disorders in constructive and energy metabolism and, possibly, contributes to an increase in a number of overweight and obese girls among girls of andromorphic morphotype.

“Among the female students under study, 28.5% are of gynecomorphic, 55.8% — of mesomorphic, and 15.7% — of andromorphic morphotypes, which means that 15.7% of these young ladies have sex inversion. We have found that during sex inversion in adolescent females, intracellular metabolism is reorganized, which is caused by a change in the activity of enzymes, including NADPH oxidase, which leads to the release of prooxidants. At the same time, girls of the mesomorphic constitution are of the adaptive morphotype, which is characterized by the activation of metabolic processes, possibly associated with an intensification of free-radical oxidation with an increase in indicators — a marker of the antioxidant system activity. We believe that these results will contribute to understanding of how to reduce the risk of obesity for young women with sex inversion,” summed up the research team members.

The research was conducted with the support of Krasnoyarsk Regional Scientific Foundation, Developing a Comprehensive System for Assessing the Health of Adolescents Living in the Far North project.

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