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Fat utilization and arterial hypertension in overweight/obese subjects

Yvelise Ferro1, Carmine Gazzaruso23, Adriana Coppola23, Stefano Romeo4, Valeria Migliaccio1, Andrea Giustina5, Arturo Pujia1 and Tiziana Montalcini1*

Author Affiliations

1 Clinical Nutrition Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Science, University Magna Grecia, Viale S. Venuta, 88100 Catanzaro, Italy

2 Diabetes, Endocrine-metabolic Dis. Cardiovasc. Prevention Unit, Clinical Inst. “Beato Matteo”, Vigevano, Italy

3 Department of Internal Medicine, I.R.C.C.S. Policlinico San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy

4 Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Center for Cardiovascolar and Metabolic Research, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

5 Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnologies, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy

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Journal of Translational Medicine 2013, 11:159  doi:10.1186/1479-5876-11-159

Published: 2 July 2013



The Respiratory Quotient is a parameter reflecting the utilization of the nutrients by a subject. It is associated with an high rate of subsequent weight gain and with the atherosclerosis. Subjects tending to burn less fat have an increased Respiratory Quotient. Aim of this study was to investigate on the relationship between the Respiratory Quotient and the cardiovascular risk factors.


In this cross-sectional study we enrolled 223 individuals of both sexes aged 45–75 ys that were weight stable, receiving a balanced diet, and not affected by debilitating disease or cardiovascular disease. The Respiratory Quotient was measured by Indirect Calorimetry. The measurement of the Blood Pressure was obtained by a mercury sphygmomanometer.


We enrolled 133 female and 90 male. Systolic blood pressure only was positively correlated to the Respiratory Quotient in univariate and multivariate regression analysis (p=0,017). The prevalence of hypertension was significatively different between the quartiles of the Respiratory Quotient, with the highest prevalence in the IV quartile (p=0,024).


High value of the Respiratory Quotient, an index of nutrients utilization, is associated to an high prevalence of Hypertension. It is possible that in the subjects with high Respiratory Quotient and high body mass index, the activation of the renin angiotensin system, in concert to the reduction of the utilization of the endogenous fat stores, could increase the risk of hypertension.

Obesity; Indirect calorimetry; Respiratory Quotient; Hypertension