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Functional body composition and related aspects in research on obesity and cachexia: report on the 12th Stock Conference held on 6 and 7 September 2013 in Hamburg, Germany


  • Funding: MJM: German Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF Competence Network Obesity (CNO), Reference Centre of Body Composition, (Körperzusammensetzung; FKZ 01GI1125). VB: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Alberta Cancer Foundation. AB-W: German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 0315681), German Research Foundation (DFG Bo 3296/1-1 and DFG Mü 714/ 8-3). JE: Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (Ministry of Science and Research of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia), Bundesministerium für Gesundheit (Federal Ministry of Health). KDH, Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases.


The 12th Stock Conference addressed body composition and related functions in two extreme situations, obesity and cancer cachexia. The concept of ‘functional body composition’ integrates body components into regulatory systems relating the mass of organs and tissues to corresponding in vivo functions and metabolic processes. This concept adds to an understanding of organ/tissue mass and function in the context of metabolic adaptations to weight change and disease. During weight gain and loss, there are associated changes in individual body components while the relationships between organ and tissue mass are fixed. Thus an understanding of body weight regulation involves an examination of the relationships between organs and tissues rather than individual organ and tissue masses only. The between organ/tissue mass relationships are associated with and explained by crosstalks between organs and tissues mediated by cytokines, hormones and metabolites that are coupled with changes in body weight, composition and function as observed in obesity and cancer cachexia. In addition to established roles in intermediary metabolism, cell function and inflammation, organ-tissue crosstalk mediators are determinants of body composition and its change with weight gain and loss. The 12th Stock Conference supported Michael Stocks' concept of gaining new insights by integrating research ideas from obesity and cancer cachexia. The conference presentations provide an in-depth understanding of body composition and metabolism.