Childhood Obesity Serum Samples Analyzed Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy


A group of scientists led by Zozan Guleken of the Gaziantep University of Science and Technology in Gaziantep, Turkey looked into the blood serum composition of childhood obesity (CO) tissues using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Their findings were published in Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy (1).

Doctor measuring waist of overweight woman in clinic, closeup | Image Credit: © New Africa -

Doctor measuring waist of overweight woman in clinic, closeup | Image Credit: © New Africa -

Childhood obesity (CO) is a phenomenon encompassing excess adipose tissue accumulation and an increase in body weight, while being strongly connected to various medical conditions and health issues. In response, the European Programme of Work 2020–2025 emphasized and prioritized the importance of managing obesity in achieving sustainable development goals. In the WHO European Region, it is estimated that nearly 60% of adults and approximately one in three children suffer from obesity, making it the fourth most common risk factor after high blood pressure, dietary risks, and tobacco risk. This, along with CO increasing risks of metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes mellitus, has fueled the fight against this condition.

To understand the progression of CO and devise effective therapies, it is crucial to clarify the molecular and structural modifications that transpire during the development of obesity. This study was part of an ongoing CO treatment trial, where data was collected from children diagnosed with CO before the initiation of non-drug treatment interventions. The ultimate purpose with this study was to analyze biochemical changes associated with childhood obesity, specifically focusing on the concentrations of lipids, lipoproteins, insulin, and glucose. By comparing these parameters between the CO group (n = 60) and a control group of children (n = 43), the scientists hoped to identify metabolic differences present in individuals with CO.

After biochemical analyses, the scientists found lower LDL (low-density lipoproteins) levels and higher HDL (high-density lipoproteins), cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and glucose levels in CO individuals compared to controls. Using Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy on serum samples to better scrutinize these changes, they found elevated levels of lipids and proteins in the serum of CO compared to those of controls. Additionally, structural changes in the vibrations of glucose, β-sheet, and lipids in CO group were found.

When FT-IR was coupled with principal component analysis (PCA), the results showed a marked differentiation between the CO and control samples, especially in the FT-IR region that corresponds with the presence of amides and lipids content. Additionally, a Pearson test showed a stronger correlation between biochemical data and FT-IR spectra than between second derivative FT-IR spectra. While CO is still a phenomenon that deserves further research, these findings have, according to the scientists, provided “insights into the molecular and structural changes occurring in CO” (1).


(1) Guleken, Z.; Ceylan, Z.; Çeçen, S.; et al. Quantitative or Qualitative Biomolecular Changes in Blood Serum Composition Induced by Childhood Obesity: A Fourier Transform Infrared Examination. Spectrochim. Acta Part A: Mol. Biomol. Spectrosc. 2024, 313, 124153. DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2024.124153

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