Introduction: Human fat mass and obesity-associated gene (FTO) gene expression are associated with body mass index and type 2 diabetes. It is unknown whether lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, can attenuate weight gain and obesity by contribution to the FTO gene regulation. The objective of the present study was to investigate the association between habitual physical activity and the FTO gene expression among morbid obese and non-obese subjects.
Materials and methods: Visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues were gathered from 87 (n=37 non-obese and n=50 obese) non-diabetic participants aged ≥20, who had undergone elective abdominal surgery. Physical activity was collected using a valid and reliable International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)-long form, and the metabolic equivalent of task (MET) was calculated. Respondents were asked to report time spent in the physical activity performed across leisure time, work, domestic activities, and transport at each of 3 intensities: walking, moderate, and vigorous. The mRNA expressions of the FTO gene in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues were analyzed by Real-Time PCR.
Findings: The mean age of participants (22.7% male) were 41.7 years. BMI for morbidly obese and non-obese participants was 43.3 and 24.6 kg/m2, respectively. There was no significant difference between FTO gene expression in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues between non-obese (BMI <30 kg/m2) and obese (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) participants. After controlling for total energy intake, BMI, and insulin level, FTO gene expression in visceral adipose tissue among obese participants was inversely associated with total MET (r=−0.625, P<0.001); however FTO gene expression in subcutaneous fatty tissue was not significantly associated with total MET. Among non-obese individuals, visceral adipose tissue FTO gene expression was related to total MET (β=−0.417, P=0.012). Furthermore, among obese participants, MET related home (r=−0.316, P=0.035) and leisure time (r=−0.341, P=0.027) were inversely associated with FTO mRNA expression in visceral adipose tissue.
Conclusions: Decreased FTO gene expression in visceral adipose tissue is linked to total MET in obese participants, suggesting an essential role of physical activity pathways in the causal relationship between consequences of higher physical activity and the development of obesity.
18 - 21 May 2019
European Society of Endocrinology