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Effects of short-term dietary restriction on plasma metabolites and the subcutaneous fat area according to metabolic status in obese individuals: a case–control study

Hye Yoon Jang, Youngmin Han, Hye Jin Yoo, Jong Ho Lee,
Published: 7 June 2021
Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome , Volume 13, pp 1-10; doi:10.1186/s13098-021-00679-8

Abstract: Background Research elucidating the metabolic mechanisms that differentiate subtypes of obesity has been increasing. We aimed to investigate the effects of a 12-week dietary intervention on the metabolomic profiles of obese subjects. Methods Subjects followed a 12-week dietary restriction protocol consisting of a 300 kcal/day reduction in their usual caloric intake. Twenty-nine obese subjects were included and divided into two groups: the metabolic status maintenance group (n = 17, controls) and the metabolic status improvement group (n = 12, tests). We analyzed the somatometric and biochemical parameters and performed ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of the plasma metabolites. Results At 12 weeks, the fat percentage, whole fat area (WFA), subcutaneous fat area (SFA) at the L1 vertebra, and the levels of triglycerides, gamma-glutamyltransferase (gamma-GT), and leptin were markedly decreased in the metabolic status improvement group, while the level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased compared with that in the metabolic status maintenance group. Metabolomic profiling at 12 weeks showed substantial differences in 4-aminobutyraldehyde (p = 0.005) and 4’-apo-β-carotenal (p = 0.024) between the two groups. Furthermore, an AUC value of 0.89 was obtained for the following seven featured biomarkers: triglycerides, gamma-GT, leptin, fat percentage, WFA, and SFA at the L1 vertebra, and 4-aminobutyraldehyde. Conclusions We demonstrated that 4-aminobutyraldehyde and related regional fat distribution parameters were strongly associated with obesity according to metabolic status. Thus, these biomarkers are potentially valuable in confirming the efficacy of short-term interventions and predicting metabolic status in obese individuals. Trials registration: This study was registered at under NCT03135132 (registered 1 May 2017—retrospectively registered).
Keywords: Metabolically unhealthy obesity / Metabolically healthy obesity / Dietary restriction / Metabolomics / Leptin / Subcutaneous fat area

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