Trace elements as potential modulators of puberty-induced amelioration of oxidative stress and inflammation in childhood obesity

Á. González-Domínguez, J. Domínguez-Riscart, M. Millán-Martínez, R. M. Mateos-Bernal, A. M. Lechuga-Sancho, R. González-Domínguez BioFactors 2023, 

Although puberty is known to influence obesity progression, the molecular mechanisms underlying the role of sexual maturation in obesity-related complications remains largely unexplored. Here, we delve into the impact of puberty on the most relevant pathogenic hallmarks of obesity, namely oxidative stress and inflammation, and their association with trace element blood status. To this end, we studied a well-characterized observational cohort comprising prepubertal (N = 46) and pubertal (N = 48) children with obesity. From all participants, plasma and erythrocyte samples were collected and subjected to metallomics analysis and determination of classical biomarkers of oxidative stress and inflammation. Besides the expected raise of sexual hormones, pubertal children displayed better inflammatory and oxidative control, as reflected by lower levels of C-reactive protein and oxidative damage markers, as well as improved antioxidant defense. This was in turn accompanied by a healthier multielemental profile, with increased levels of essential elements involved in the antioxidant system and metabolic control (metalloproteins containing zinc, molybdenum, selenium, and manganese) and decreased content of potentially deleterious species (total copper, labile free iron). Therefore, our findings suggest that children with obesity have an exacerbated inflammatory and oxidative damage at early ages, which could be ameliorated during pubertal development by the action of trace element-mediated buffering mechanisms.