Investigating adipose tissue angiogenesis in obesity reveals a novel role for thrombospondin-1.
Nelson, Yvonne Beverly
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Obesity is a major health problem that has reached epidemic proportions worldwide.Therapeutic intervention for obesity has proven extremely challenging. Obesity is a complex trait involving the interaction of genes involved in fundamental aspects of weight maintenance, exposure to an environment characterised by an over-abundance of food and sedentary life-style choices with limited physical activity (Poskitt 2009). A marked shift in diet has occurred worldwide (Popkin 2001) with greater saturated fat intake, reduced intake of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre, and reduced fruit and vegetable intake (WHO 2003). In terms of pharmacological strategies, the current anti-obesity drugs on the market are primarily concerned with reducing appetite or fat absorption in the gut. However, serious side effects have been documented with some of these drugs, including an increased rate of cardiovascular events with Sibutramine use (Curfman et al., 2010). In 2007, the Scottish Medicines Consortium removed Rimonabant from use in the NHS Scotland due to risks of adverse psychiatric events (Burch et al., 2009). However, despite these setbacks, there have been considerable advancements in the treatment of obesity, achieved by combining pharmacological treatments with diet, exercise, behavioral approaches and surgery (gastric band surgery and liposuction). However, the prevalence of obesity continues to increase inexorably, particularly in the Asia Pacific region (Gill 2006; Low et al., 2009), and thus further advancements in obesity treatment are needed, ideally avoiding invasive procedures such as surgery.