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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Jun;23(6):1312-9. doi: 10.1002/oby.21079. Epub 2015 May 9.

Importance of substantial weight loss for altering gene expression during cardiovascular lifestyle modification.

Author information

Integrative Cardiac Health Program, Windber Research Institute, Windber, Pennsylvania, USA.
Almac Diagnostics, Almac Group Limited, Craigavon, UK.
Bioinformatics Department, ChipDX LLC, New York, New York, USA.
Integrative Cardiac Health Program, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.



To examine relationships between weight loss through changes in lifestyle and peripheral blood gene expression profiles.


A prospective nonrandomized trial was conducted over 1 year in participants undergoing intensive lifestyle modification to reverse or stabilize progression of coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular risk factors, inflammatory biomarkers, and gene expression as a function of weight loss were assessed in 89 lifestyle participants and 71 retrospectively matched controls undergoing usual care.


Substantial weight loss (-15.2 ± 3.8%) in lifestyle participants (n = 33) was associated with improvement in selected cardiovascular risk factors and significant changes in peripheral blood gene expression from pre- to post-intervention: 132 unique genes showed significant expression changes (false discovery rate corrected P-value <0.05 and fold-change ≥1.4). Altered molecular pathways were related to immune function and inflammatory responses involving endothelial activation. In contrast, participants losing minimal weight (-3.1 ± 2.5%, n = 32) showed only minor changes in cardiovascular risk factors and markers of inflammation and no changes in gene expression compared to non intervention controls after 1 year.


Weight loss (≥10%) during lifestyle modification is associated with down-regulation of genetic pathways governing interactions between circulating immune cells and the vascular endothelium and may be required to successfully reduce CVD risk.

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