Monday, June 7, 2010

Sex differences in body fat distribution

When discussing sex differences in body fat distribution in my A&P course, I off-handedly refer to the roles of sex hormones in regulating the development that leads to these differences.  But how much do we really know about how that works?  Some recent work sheds a bit of light on that.

For example, a research review recently appearing in Obesity Reviews shows that indeed estrogen is responsible for promoting fat deposition in adult women.

Another recent article, this one in The International Journal of Obesity, suggests that there is a huge difference between the gene activity in male fat vs. female fat.  That is, the anatomy and physiology of male fat and female fat differs far more than anyone has yet realized.

Why Do Women Store Fat Differently From Men?.
University of New South Wales.
ScienceDaily 4 March 2009. 17 May 2010
[Brief synopsis of a research review from Obesity Reviews]

Does oestrogen allow women to store fat more efficiently? A biological advantage for fertility and gestation
A. J. O'Sullivan
Obesity Reviews Volume 10, Issue 2, Date: March 2009, Pages: 168-177
[Research review]

Belly Fat or Hip Fat: It Really Is All in Your Genes, Says Researcher.
UT Southwestern Medical Center.
ScienceDaily 16 May 2010. 17 May 2010

A microarray analysis of sexual dimorphism of adipose tissues in high-fat-diet-induced obese mice. 
K L Grove, et al.
International Journal of Obesity, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2010.12
[Research article]