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Study Links Inflammation of Intra-Abdominal Fat and the Ill-Effects of Obesity

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BEER-SHEVA, Israel – June 28, 2007 – Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) led by Drs. Assaf Rudich, Iris Shai and Prof. Nava Bashan, in conjunction with Soroka University Medical Center (led by Dr. Ilana Harman-Boehm) and colleagues from the University of Leipzig, Germany, have discovered a possible link between diseases caused by obesity and fat tissue inflammation in the abdominal area of the body.

Each Center's research programs obtained paired biopsies from intra-abdominal and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat taken from patients undergoing abdominal surgery.

Researchers demonstrated that fatty tissue collected within the abdomen attracts inflammatory cells of the immune system to a greater degree than the subcutaneous fat.  The number of these cells increases in people suffering from obesity, specifically those whose fat accumulation is found primarily in the abdominal cavity.  The research has found a correlation between the degree of intra-abdominal fat inflammation and the increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes and heart disease.

The researchers' discoveries were published in June in two American Endocrine Society journals - Endocrinology, and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

When comparing the two types of fatty tissues, as well as obese versus lean people, researchers were able to pinpoint two specific inflammation response signals that were increased in the intra-abdominal fat of the obese patients.  These findings provide new insight to the possible cause and effect in this situation, and may open new therapeutic avenues for treatment.  

The research was funded by The Russell Berrie Foundation and D-Cure Diabetes Care in Israel, by The Israeli Foundation for the Study of Diabetes, and by the Israel Science Foundation. 


American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion's vision, creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University's expertise locally and around the globe. With some 20,000 students on campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat in Israel’s southern desert, BGU is a university with a conscience, where the highest academic standards are integrated with community involvement, committed to sustainable development of the Negev.

Media Contact:

Andrew Lavin
A. Lavin Communications

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