OBJECTIVE: In the current obesity epidemic, the ability to remain lean is beginning to be uncommon. Therefore, it was considered of interest to characterize such subjects. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: From a population of premenopausal women (n = 270), all 40 years of age, those with a similar body mass index (BMI) as women at the age of 21 years, born the same year (BMI = 21.1 kg/m(2)) were selected among nonsmokers and compared with the remaining nonsmoking women. RESULTS: Lean women showed, as expected, low waist-to-hip circumference ratio and abdominal sagittal diameter as well as absence of other disease risk factors. Compared with the remaining women, 17 beta-estradiol was high and androgens were low, whereas insulin-like growth factor I and thyroid hormones showed no differences. Dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate was lower, whereas cortisol, measured in saliva repeatedly over a day, and adrenocorticotropin hormone were not different. Results from questionnaires indicated higher education and socioeconomic status, frequent sports activities, and better psychosocial adaptation and psychological health. A tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism in the fourth [corrected] intron of the aromatase P450 gene was longer among the lean (187 base pairs) than the rest of the women. Women with opposite phylogenetic characteristic have a short microsatellite (168 base pairs) in this gene locus. DISCUSSION: Lean, nonsmoking women enjoy an excellent health in not only anthropometric and metabolic factors, but also in neuroendocrine, endocrine, and psychological variables. The endocrine measurements suggest a well-functioning aromatase, which in turn might have a genetic background, contributing to health. The aromatase gene might be important for regulation of body fat mass.
MEDICIN OCH HÄLSOVETENSKAP -- Medicinska grundvetenskaper -- Farmakologi och toxikologi (hsv//swe)
MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES -- Basic Medicine -- Pharmacology and Toxicology (hsv//eng)