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Aging (Albany NY). 2012 Feb;4(2):98-115.

Inflammatory cause of metabolic syndrome via brain stress and NF-κB.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Diabetes Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Metabolic syndrome, a network of medical disorders that greatly increase the risk for developing metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, has reached epidemic levels in many areas of today's world. Despite this alarming medicare situation, scientific understandings on the root mechanisms of metabolic syndrome are still limited, and such insufficient knowledge contributes to the relative lack of effective treatments or preventions for related diseases. Recent interdisciplinary studies from neuroendocrinology and neuroimmunology fields have revealed that overnutrition can trigger intracellular stresses to cause inflammatory changes mediated by molecules that control innate immunity. This type of nutrition-related molecular inflammation in the central nervous system, particularly in the hypothalamus, can form a common pathogenic basis for the induction of various metabolic syndrome components such as obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension. Proinflammatory NF-κB pathway has been revealed as a key molecular system for pathologic induction of brain inflammation, which translates overnutrition and resulting intracellular stresses into central neuroendocrine and neural dysregulations of energy, glucose, and cardiovascular homeostasis, collectively leading to metabolic syndrome. This article reviews recent research advances in the neural mechanisms of metabolic syndrome and related diseases from the perspective of pathogenic induction by intracellular stresses and NF-κB pathway of the brain.

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