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Int J Clin Pract. 2008 Jul;62(7):1087-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01789.x. Epub 2008 May 16.

Modulating an oxidative-inflammatory cascade: potential new treatment strategy for improving glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, and vascular function.

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  • 1REL & Associates, LLC, Downingtown, PA 19335-4803, USA.


Type 2 diabetes is a result of derangement of homeostatic systems of metabolic control and immune defense. Increases in visceral fat and organ adipose, environmental factors and genetic predisposition create imbalances of these homeostatic mechanisms, ultimately leading to a condition in which the oxidative environment cannot be held in check. A significant imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and antioxidant defenses, a condition called to oxidative stress, ensues, leading to alterations in stress-signalling pathways and potentially end-organ damage. Oxidative stress and metabolic inflammation upregulate the expression pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tissue necrosis factor alpha, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and interleukin-6, as well as activating stress-sensitive kinases, such as c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphokinase C isoforms, mitogen-activated protein kinase and inhibitor of kappa B kinase. The JNK pathway (specifically JNK-1) appears to be a regulator that triggers the oxidative-inflammation cascade that, if left unchecked, can become chronic and cause abnormal glucose metabolism. This can lead to insulin resistance and dysfunction of the vasculature and pancreatic beta-cell. The series of events set in motion by the interaction between metabolic inflammation and oxidative stress constitutes an 'oxidative-inflammatory cascade', a delicate balance driven by mediators of the immune and metabolic systems, maintained through a positive feedback loop. Modulating an oxidative-inflammation cascade may improve glucose metabolism, insulin resistance and vascular function, thereby slowing the development and progression to cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

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