Obesity-related derangements in metabolic regulation.
An epidemic surge in the incidence of obesity has occurred worldwide over the past two decades. This alarming trend has been triggered by lifestyle habits that encourage overconsumption of energy-rich foods while also discouraging regular physical activity. These environmental influences create a chronic energy imbalance that leads to persistent weight gain in the form of body fat and a host of other abnormalities in metabolic homeostasis. As adiposity increases, so does the risk of developing comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. The intimate association between obesity and systemic metabolic dysregulation has inspired a new area of biochemistry research in which scientists are seeking to understand the molecular mechanisms that link chronic lipid oversupply to tissue dysfunction and disease development. The purpose of this chapter is to review recent findings in this area, placing emphasis on lipid-induced functional impairments in the major peripheral organs that control energy flux: adipose tissue, the liver, skeletal muscle, and the pancreas.
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