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Panminerva Med. 2006 Jun;48(2):77-85.

Obesity: a main factor of metabolic syndrome?

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy.


The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a common metabolic disorder that has been recently related to the increasing prevalence of obesity. The disorder is defined in various ways, but in the near future a new definition(s) will be applicable worldwide. The pathophysiology has been largely attributed, in the past years, to insulin-resistance, even if several epidemiological and pathophysiological data are attractive to indicate visceral obesity as a main factor in the occurrence of the MS, promoting new definitions and re-evaluation of the pathogenesis of this syndrome. In this review, we have analyzed the role of visceral obesity in the new definition of the MS such as the pathophysiological role of the abnormal fat distribution in the occurrence of this syndrome. In view of this, relationships between visceral obesity, free fatty acids, dyslipidaemia and insulin-resistance have been reported. In addition, the effects of some adipocytokines and other proinflammatory factors produced by fat accumulation on the appearance of the MS have been also emphasized. Finally, according to recommendations of several international societies, the role of the life-style change and of the weight loss in the prevention and treatment both of obesity and of other associated risk factors has been analyzed.

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