Obesity, or a high fat diet, can lead to changes in the immune system similar to those observed with aging. That's what research published this week in Experimental Physiology suggests.
The research was carried out by scientists at Liverpool John Moores University in the United Kingdom and the Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition of the Spanish National Research Council (ICTAN-CSIC), the University Complutense of Madrid and the Research Institute of the Hospital 12 de Octubre, in Spain.
These findings are useful as they help scientists understand the impact of obesity on our body's ability to fight infection. They also found that it was possible to reverse some of these effects by supplementing the diet with unsaturated fatty acids found in vegetable oils, such as olive or fish oils.
Obesity affects one in four adults in the UK and can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, and stroke1. The researchers fed mice a high-fat diet, causing them to become obese. Signs of oxidative stress and certain properties of immune cells indicated aging of the immune system. These obese mice were then split into groups and received food supplemented either with 2-hydroxyoleic acid or omega-3 fatty acids for eight weeks.
Author Dr. Fatima Perez de Heredia from Liverpool John Moores University said:
'This is the first study, at least to our knowledge, to suggest the efficacy of 2-hydroxyoleic acid for reversing obesity-associated immune alterations and improving oxidative stress.'
Notes for Editors
1. Link to source: http://www.
2. Full paper title: Oxidative stress and immunosenescence in spleen of obese mice can be reversed by 2-hydroxyoleic acid DOI: 10.1113/EP086157
Link to paper http://onlinelibrary.
3. Experimental Physiology publishes translation and integration of research, specifically manuscripts that deal with both physiological and pathophysiological questions that investigate gene/protein function using molecular, cellular and whole animal approaches. http://ep.
4. The Physiological Society brings together over 3,500 scientists from over 60 countries. The Society promotes physiology with the public and parliament alike. It supports physiologists by organising world-class conferences and offering grants for research and also publishes the latest developments in the field in its three leading scientific journals, The Journal of Physiology, Experimental Physiology and Physiological Reports. http://www.
5. Limitations: The study needs to be reproduced in humans to confirm the results
The Physiological Society:
Julia Turan, Communications Manager
Dr. Fatima Perez de Heredia
Liverpool John Moores University