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

M. J. Mueller*, V. Baracos, A. Bosy-Westphal, A. G. Dulloo, J. Eckel, K. C. H. Fearon, K. D. Hall, A. Pietrobelli, T. I. A. Sorensen, J. Speakman, P. Trayhurn, M. Visser, S. B. Heymsfield

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-656
Number of pages17
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number8
Early online date17 Jul 2014
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

The authors wish to thank IASO for giving them the opportunity to organize the 2013 Stock Conference. Special thanks to David York and Natasha Joyner from IASO for their help in preparing and conducting the conference. The financial support provided by the following is acknowledged: BMBF Competence Network Obesity (CNO), Germany; Seca, Hamburg; Zensa Analytic, Frankfurt; EchoMRI TM, Houston; and Cosmed Companies, Fridolfing.

Funded by
German Ministry of Education and Research. Grant Number: BMBF 0315681
BMBF Competence Network Obesity (CNO)
Reference Centre of Body Composition
Körperzusammensetzung. Grant Number: FKZ 01GI1125
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Alberta Cancer Foundation
German Research Foundation. Grant Numbers: DFG Bo 3296/1-1, DFG Mü 714/ 8-3
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)
Intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases
Seca, Hamburg
Zensa Analytic, Frankfurt
EchoMRI TM, Houston
Cosmed Companies, Fridolfing


  • Adipose tissue
  • body composition
  • metabolism
  • muscle mass


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