Sympathetic Nervous System Activity Predicts Weight Loss

Resting muscle sympathetic nerve activity independently predicts weight loss in obesity

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- During hypocaloric dietary intervention in obese individuals, baseline muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA), and post-prandial nutritional sympathetic nervous system (SNS) responsiveness, are positive predictors of weight loss, according to a study published online Nov. 16 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Nora E. Straznicky, Ph.D., from the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues investigated whether variability of weight loss attained during hypocaloric dietary intervention correlated with individual differences in baseline MSNA and nutritional SNS responsiveness. During a 12-week weight loss program, 42 untreated obese participants (approximate body mass index, 32.1 kg/m²; approximate age, 57 years), who fulfilled the Adult Treatment Panel III metabolic syndrome criteria, used a modified Dietary Approaches to Treat Hypertension diet. MSNA was assessed at rest and during a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test, in a subset of participants.

The investigators found that baseline resting MSNA burst incidence independently and significantly predicted weight loss (6.7 ± 0.5 kg). After adjustment for age and baseline body weight, this accounted for 14.3 percent of the variance. MSNA responses to oral glucose at baseline were significantly blunted in weight loss 'resistant' individuals (WLR; weight loss, 4.4 ± 03 percent) versus 'successful' weight losers (SWL; weight loss, 9.6 ± 0.8 percent). In the WLR group, the absolute difference in MSNA averaged approximately −7, −6, and −3 bursts/100 heartbeats at 30, 60, and 90 minutes post-glucose, respectively. In the SWL group, the corresponding differences were approximately 9, 12, and 15 bursts/100 heartbeats.

"Baseline sympathetic drive and nutritional sympathetic responsiveness may be important prognostic biological markers for weight loss outcome," the authors write.

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