- Prof. Nathan A. Berger
- Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, United States.
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Special Issue Introduction
Obesity is a pandemic disorder, characterized by energy balance excess in the form of expanded adipose tissue mass, accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation. Recent estimates suggest a worldwide prevalence of more than 110 million children and 640 million adults affected with overweight and/or obesity. Obesity is accompanied by multiple comorbidities including metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; cardiovascular complications, including hypertension and heart failure; and cancer, in which at least 13 malignancies have been identified by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) as Obesity Associated Cancers (OACs). Evidence reviewed by IARC indicates that excess body fat is associated with increased risk for each of these malignancies. In addition, obesity is associated with accelerated development and worse prognosis for many cancers.
Despite its deleterious effects and its complex comorbidities, obesity has generally been refractory to behavioral modification, as well as resistant to most pharmacologic interventions. In most cases, obesity is a polygenic disorder, as is its association with multiple comorbidities. Critical in the development of obesity and OACs is interaction of multiple genetic traits with nutritional abundance of environmental energy supply and genetic modifiers. In particular, evidence suggests neonatal and early childhood events may impact adult obesity, thereby suggesting strong epigenetic effects.
To effectively control obesity and its consequences, it is critical to identify and better understand its genetic and epigenetic drivers, ethnic differences and environmental interactions, as well as to consider which of these factors may serve as therapeutic targets. In regards to the OACs and their current increase in incidence, it is further critical to identify the genetic and epigenetic linkage to oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. This special issue of The Journal of Translational Genetics and Genomics will focus on the genetics and epigenetics of factors driving obesity and OACs. Important consideration will be given to articles identifying genetic and epigenetic strategies to disrupt the obesity cancer-linkage.
Submission Deadline15 May 2022