Acetyl-CoA Regulation, OXPHOS Integrity and Leptin Levels Are Different in Females With Childhood vs Adulthood Onset of Obesity

Bjorn T Tam, Jessica Murphy, Natalie Khor, Jose A Morais, Sylvia Santosa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Although childhood-onset obesity (CO) and adulthood-onset obesity (AO) are known to lead to distinctive clinical manifestations and disease risks, the fundamental differences between them are largely unclear. The aim of the current study is to investigate the fundamental differences between subcutaneous adipose tissue from CO and AO and to identify metabolic differences between abdominal (abSAT) and femoral subcutaneous adipose tissues (feSAT). Total and regional body composition was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and computed tomography. Levels of acetyl-CoA, NAD+/NADH, acetyl-CoA network genes, mitochondrial complex abundance, H3 acetylation were determined in biopsied abSAT and feSAT. Serum leptin and adiponectin were measured. Our results showed that acetyl-CoA was higher in subcutaneous adipose tissue from subjects with AO compared with CO. Multiple linear regression revealed that ATP citrate lyase was the only main effect affecting the level of acetyl-CoA. Circulating leptin concentrations was higher in AO. The increased level of acetyl-CoA was strongly associated with histone H3 acetylation, LEP expression in adipose tissue, and circulating leptin in AO. NAD+/NADH was higher in CO; however, abundance of mitochondrial complexes, the complex II:complex V ratio, and the complex IV:complex V ratio were lower in CO, reflecting compromised mitochondrial function in subcutaneous adipose tissue from CO. Moreover, we identified differences in the level of acetyl-CoA and NAD+/NADH ratio between abSAT and feSAT, suggesting that these fat depots may possess different metabolic properties. The fundamental difference in the important metabolic intermediate acetyl-CoA between CO and AO may help us better understand the development of obesity and the pathogenesis of different obesity-related diseases in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbqaa142
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

User-Defined Keywords

  • obesity onset
  • acetyl-CoA
  • leptin
  • adipose tissue
  • metabolism


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