Objective: To examine relationships between weight loss through changes in lifestyle and peripheral blood gene expression profiles.
Methods: A prospective nonrandomized trial was conducted over 1 year in participants undergoing intensive lifestyle modification to reverse or stabilize progression of coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular risk factors, inflammatory biomarkers, and gene expression as a function of weight loss were assessed in 89 lifestyle participants and 71 retrospectively matched controls undergoing usual care.
Results: Substantial weight loss (-15.2 ± 3.8%) in lifestyle participants (n = 33) was associated with improvement in selected cardiovascular risk factors and significant changes in peripheral blood gene expression from pre- to post-intervention: 132 unique genes showed significant expression changes (false discovery rate corrected P-value <0.05 and fold-change ≥1.4). Altered molecular pathways were related to immune function and inflammatory responses involving endothelial activation. In contrast, participants losing minimal weight (-3.1 ± 2.5%, n = 32) showed only minor changes in cardiovascular risk factors and markers of inflammation and no changes in gene expression compared to non intervention controls after 1 year.
Conclusions: Weight loss (≥10%) during lifestyle modification is associated with down-regulation of genetic pathways governing interactions between circulating immune cells and the vascular endothelium and may be required to successfully reduce CVD risk.
© 2015 The Obesity Society.