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Biochem Soc Trans. 2008 Oct;36(Pt 5):935-40. doi: 10.1042/BST0360935.

Adipose tissue expandability: the metabolic problems of obesity may arise from the inability to become more obese.

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Metabolic Research Laboratories, Level 4, Institute of Metabolic Science, Box 289, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.


The prevalence of obesity is increasing and with it the prevalence of associated metabolic complications. Precisely how obesity results in metabolic disturbances remains unclear. In the face of persistent positive caloric balance, it has been postulated that the capacity of adipose tissue to safely store fat may be vital. This paper explores some of the evidence suggesting that the risk of developing metabolic disturbances is not related to how much fat an individual has, but how well their fat can expand to accommodate the caloric excess. If this is true, the metabolic consequences of obesity may arise from the inability to become more obese.

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