The association between obesity and cardiovascular disease is thought to be caused by obesity-induced inflammation, oxidative stress and alterations in plasma lipoproteins, such as the protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Ferretti et al. examined these parameters in healthy controls, obese individuals and obese subjects with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), the most common genetic form of obesity. They found that levels of lipid hydroperoxides were higher in both of the obese cohorts, and that the activity of paraoxonase-1 (PON1), an HDL-associated antioxidant enzyme, was decreased. A marker of inflammation and the physicochemical properties of HDL were also altered in the obese cohorts. These results indicate that obesity in humans –whether induced by diet or genetics – is associated with oxidative stress, altered properties of HDL and inflammation. They also suggest that HDL and PON1 are worth examining in the context of obesity-associated cardiovascular disease. Page 698
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