Metabolic Effects of Obesity: A Review

World J Diabetes. 2010 Jul 15;1(3):76-88. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v1.i3.76.


With the many recent advances in the biomedical world, vast changes are taking place in our growing knowledge of the physiological aspects of almost all the tissues and organs of the human body. One of the most prevalent topics of discussion is the question of obesity and its effect on the metabolic changes in the human body. The original classical role of adipose tissue as an energy storage organ has been greatly modified. We now know that it is an endocrine organ, producing adipokines like leptin, adiponectin, visfatin, resistin, apelin, etc, which modulate metabolic processes in the body. Since obesity is associated with an increase in the adipose tissue mass, these hormones may be expected to be produced in increased concentrations and may thus have a significant impact on the macronutrient metabolism. Further, these adipokines may interact with long term energy modulators like insulin. Even though the scientific community has started unravelling the mysteries of the close linkage between obesity, its hormones and their physiological effects, a lot still remains to be discovered. The present discussion makes an attempt to trace the basic modern day concepts of the role of obesity in various metabolic processes.

Keywords: Adipokines; Adiponectin; Apelin; Insulin; Leptin; Metabolism; Obesity; Visfatin.