Abstract 440: Regional Differences in Fat Loss Following Weight Gain in Normal Adults
Background: Normal weight adults gain leg fat gain via adipocyte hyperplasia and upper body subcutaneous (UBSQ) fat gain via adipocyte hypertrophy.
Objective: To understand whether regional fat loss mirrors fat gain and whether leg fat loss results in decreased adipocyte number vs. size.
Design: We assessed UBSQ, leg and visceral fat gain and loss in response to over- and underfeeding in 23 young, healthy normal weight adults (15 men). Participants gained ∼5% weight over 8 weeks and lost ∼80% of gained fat over the following 8 weeks. We measured abdominal subcutaneous and femoral adipocyte size and number after weight gain and loss.
Results: Volunteers gained 3.1 ± 2.1 kg of body fat with overfeeding and lost 2.4 ± 1.7 kg with calorie restriction. Although upper body subcutaneous (UBSQ) fat and visceral fat gains were completely reversed with weight loss, leg fat had not yet returned to baseline values by 8 weeks. Abdominal and femoral adipocyte size decreased significantly with weight loss, but the number of adipocytes did not decrease. Abdominal adipocyte size decreases correlated (rho= 0.76, p = 0.001) with UBSQ fat mass decreases and femoral adipocyte size decreases correlated (rho= 0.49, p=0.05) with leg fat mass decreases.
Conclusion: UBSQ and visceral fat depots increase and decrease proportionately with short term weight gain and loss, whereas gain and loss of leg fat are less well linked. Loss of lower body fat is due to reduced fat cell size, not number, which may result in long-term increases in leg fat cell number. This may have implications for long-term weight control.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.