Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fat or Fire, What Comes First? Scientists Answer: Obesity Alone Triggers Inflammatory Signaling in Mice

The metabolic syndrome, i.e. the combination of obesity, inflammation and insulin resistance, is at the center of contemporary medical research. In my appearance on Carl Lenore's Super Human Radio, I already mentioned that from a logical perspective the mainstream belief, inflammation was the root of all evil, must be flawed. How should the reaction to a problem be the cause of the very problem itself? A recent study coming from a group of Korean scientists strengthens my conviction that out of the triad that not inflammation, but rather obesity or - one step further up in the genesis of the pathology - the combination of an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle is at the heart of the triad we now call the "metabolic syndrome".

Kim et al. investigated the pro-inflammatory signaling cascade in either diet-induced (DIO) or leptin gene deficient (ob/ob) obese mice and found that obesity alone ...
[...] up-regulated the expression of TLR1–9 and TLR11–13 in murine adipose tissues, a phenomenon linked with downstream nuclear factor κB [inflammatory protein linked to linked to cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, septic shock, viral infection, and improper immune development], interferon regulatory factors, and STAT-1 activation, and up-regulated the expression of cytokines and chemokines via MyD88-dependent and MyD88-independent cascades [activate NF-κB].
Thus, obesity sets the scene for inflammation and inflammation in turn triggers a cascade of unfavorable metabolic and hormonal changes which in and out of themselves result in further weight gain...

Here, we have a self-enhancing pathologic circle, which - and this is probably an even more important result of the study - was especially "effective" in the group of diet-induced obese mice:
The magnitudes of the obesity-induced up-regulation of the TLR1, TLR4, TLR5, TLR8, TLR9 and TLR12 genes in the visceral adipose tissue were greater in the DIO mice than in the ob/ob mice. Similarly, the expression of the IFNα and IFNβ genes significantly increased in the adipose tissues of the DIO mice but did not change in the adipose tissues of the ob/ob mice.
So, its not in your genes, but in your hands, feet and mouth to ward off the plague of the 21st century: Exercise and eat healthy to get lean and/or stay lean and stave off inflammation and diabetes.