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08-06-2024 | Obesity | REVIEW

Relation Between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Evolutionary Insights, Perspectives and Controversies

Authors: Manoj Kumar Gupta, Gayatri Gouda, Ramakrishna Vadde

Published in: Current Obesity Reports

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Abstract

Purpose of Review

Since the mid-twentieth century, obesity and its related comorbidities, notably insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2D), have surged. Nevertheless, their underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Evolutionary medicine (EM) sheds light on these issues by examining how evolutionary processes shape traits and diseases, offering insights for medical practice. This review summarizes the pathogenesis and genetics of obesity-related IR and T2D. Subsequently, delving into their evolutionary connections. Addressing limitations and proposing future research directions aims to enhance our understanding of these conditions, paving the way for improved treatments and prevention strategies.

Recent Findings

Several evolutionary hypotheses have been proposed to unmask the origin of obesity-related IR and T2D, e.g., the "thrifty genotype" hypothesis suggests that certain "thrifty genes" that helped hunter-gatherer populations efficiently store energy as fat during feast-famine cycles are now maladaptive in our modern obesogenic environment. The "drifty genotype" theory suggests that if thrifty genes were advantageous, they would have spread widely, but proposes genetic drift instead. The "behavioral switch" and "carnivore connection" hypotheses propose insulin resistance as an adaptation for a brain-dependent, low-carbohydrate lifestyle. The thrifty phenotype theory suggests various metabolic outcomes shaped by genes and environment during development. However, the majority of these hypotheses lack experimental validation. Understanding why ancestral advantages now predispose us to diseases may aid in drug development and prevention of disease.

Summary

EM helps us to understand the evolutionary relation between obesity-related IR and T2D. But still gaps and contradictions persist. Further interdisciplinary research is required to elucidate complete mechanisms.
Appendix
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Metadata
Title
Relation Between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Evolutionary Insights, Perspectives and Controversies
Authors
Manoj Kumar Gupta
Gayatri Gouda
Ramakrishna Vadde
Publication date
08-06-2024
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Current Obesity Reports
Electronic ISSN: 2162-4968
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-024-00572-1
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