Endothelial Function and Weight Loss in Obese Humans
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Background: Obesity is a major risk factor for the development of endothelial dysfunction. We explored the effect of different degrees of body mass on endothelial function, lipids, systemic inflammation and glucose homeostasis and the effect of surgically-induced weight loss on endothelial function in severely obese humans. Methods: A cross-sectional study of healthy subjects across a wide range of body fatness was performed to characterize the effect of obesity on flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), systemic inflammation, blood pressure and insulin sensitivity. A longitudinal study was performed to assess the effect of bariatric surgery induced weight loss on these parameters. 73 healthy subjects across a wide range of body mass were recruited; of these, 8 underwent bariatric surgery (median BMI 52.2 kg/m2, interquartile range 50.355.9). Endothelial dependent vasodilatation was measured using the brachial artery vasodilatory response to forearm hyperemia assessed using highresolution ultrasonography. Results: Obese subjects were characterised by a complex collection of abnormalities, with hypertension, impaired glucose homeostasis, systemic inflammation and reduced FMD. BMI ≤25 kg/m2 (median FMD 9.7%, interquartile range 6.8-12.2), BMI >30 kg/m2 (median FMD 6.7% 4.8-7.5), P=0.01 comparing FMD in lean and obese subjects. A mean reduction in weight of 23.4 (4.6) kg produced an improvement in FMD from 5.3% (3.87.0) to 10.2% (7.6-13.3), P=0.01. Conclusions: Even moderate obesity leads to endothelial dysfunction. In severely obese subjects, FMD is normalized by weight loss. This improvement in FMD is associated with a decline in inflammatory markers, blood pressure and insulin. The improvement in FMD occurred despite patients remaining significantly obese. These results suggest that an integrated approach to improving endothelial function in obese humans may be necessary.
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