Adolescent Obesity and Insulin Resistance: Roles of Ectopic Fat Accumulation and Adipose Inflammation.

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Gastroenterology 2017 May; 152(7):1638-1646




As a consequence of the global rise in the prevalence of adolescent obesity, an unprecedented phenomenon of type 2 diabetes has emerged in pediatrics. At the heart of the development of type 2 diabetes lies a key metabolic derangement: insulin resistance (IR). Despite the widespread occurrence of IR affecting an unmeasurable number of youths worldwide, its pathogenesis remains elusive. IR in obese youth is a complex phenomenon that defies explanation by a single pathway. In this review we first describe recent data on the prevalence, severity, and racial/ethnic differences in pediatric obesity. We follow by elucidating the initiating events associated with the onset of IR, and describe a distinct "endophenotype" in obese adolescents characterized by a thin superficial layer of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, increased visceral adipose tissue, marked IR, dyslipidemia, and fatty liver. Further, we provide evidence for the cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with this peculiar endophenotype and its relations to IR in the obese adolescent. Gastroenterology 2017 May; 152(7):1638-1646.