ECU researchers uncover secrets related to fat, estrogen

Research by an East Carolina University professor and co-authors could generate ideas on how fat interacts with estrogen to cause problem areas for weight gain in women.

Hickner

Hickner

Dr. Bob Hickner, professor in the ECU Department of Kinesiology in the College of Health and Human Performance, worked with Kathleen Gavin, a post doc fellow at the University of Colorado in Denver; ECU alumnus Dustin Raymer and ECU graduate student Elizabeth Cooper.

The team determined that estrogen’s effect on fat depends on where the fat deposit is located. Those effects could explain why some premenopausal women have difficulty losing their pear shape even when they exercise. They could also help generate some new ideas on how estrogen in fat may influence why postmenopausal women tend to accumulate more fat in the abdomen.

The authors suggest that more research is necessary to better understand the mechanisms behind how and why estrogen acts in these differential ways.

The article is titled, “Estradiol Effects on Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Lipolysis in Premenopausal Women are Adipose Tissue Depot Specific and Treatment Dependent.” It appears in the June edition of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism, published by the American Physiological Society, and available at http://bit.ly/1aKKegY.

Hickner is director of the Ph.D. program in bioenergetics and exercise science at ECU and co-director of research at the Center for Health Disparities Research.

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