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Neuroimmunomodulation. 2008;15(3):189-93. doi: 10.1159/000153423. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Diet-induced inflammation of the hypothalamus in obesity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, State University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil.


Dysfunction of specific hypothalamic neurons is regarded as an important mechanism predisposing to the development of obesity. Recent studies have revealed that the consumption of fat-rich foods can activate an inflammatory response in the hypothalamus, which disturbs the anorexigenic and thermogenic signals generated by the hormones leptin and insulin, leading in turn to anomalous body mass control. Depending on diet composition, cytokines are expressed in the hypothalamus, contributing to the activation of intracellular inflammatory signal transduction. At least 4 distinct signaling pathways have been identified and the molecular mechanisms leading to the impairment of the leptin and insulin actions have been determined. Here, we present the mechanisms involved in diet-induced resistance to leptin and insulin action in the hypothalamus and discuss some of the potential applications of this knowledge in the therapeutics of obesity.

2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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