Children with obesity - do their monocytes differ from children of healthy weight?
28 Aug 2021
Yes, is the answer, according to a presentation today by Assistant Professor Siroon Bekkering (Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands) in a fascinating Live Abstracts session entitled ‘Transcriptomics and metabolomics to decipher cardiovascular disease.’
Childhood has been recognised as an overlooked but important period in life for early prevention of cardiovascular disease. Although inflammatory biomarkers and innate immune capacity are known to be increased in adults with obesity, there is little information about whether changes are seen in children.
Assistant Prof. Bekkering and colleagues set out to characterise the innate immune phenotype of monocytes from children with obesity and children of similar age without obesity. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were collected from 31 children with obesity (body mass index [BMI] Z-score >2.5) and 22 age- and sex-matched children of optimal weight (BMI Z-score from –1.5 to 1.5). Mean age was 14 years and 41% were male.
In flow cytometric analysis, significant changes in monocyte subsets were observed in children with obesity and there was an increased expression of monocyte activation markers compared with children of healthy weight. Monocytes of children with obesity also showed increased cytokine production capacity in ex vivo stimulation assays. In addition, significant differences were observed in transcriptomic analysis of monocytes from obese children and healthy controls.
The authors concluded that heightened inflammation might contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life and that such changes may offer important opportunities for early intervention. The next steps for the authors are to analyse 5-year follow-up data from the children with obesity, who attended a weight management clinic. The authors plan to investigate whether weight change has any effect on the inflammatory readouts, as well as to study anthropometric data and subclinical cardiovascular phenotypes.
Missed this session? Watch it on demand.