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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2013 Feb 25;366(2):224-34. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2012.02.004. Epub 2012 Feb 14.

Immunometabolism of AMPK in insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Obesity leads to insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, which precede Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Immunometabolism addresses how metabolic and inflammatory pathways converge to maintain health and a contemporary problem is determining how obesity-induced inflammation precipitates chronic diseases such as insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an important serine/threonine kinase well known for regulating metabolic processes and maintaining energy homeostasis. However, both metabolic and immunological AMPK-mediated effects play a role in disease. Pro-inflammatory mediators suppress AMPK activity and hinder lipid oxidation. In addition, AMPK activation curbs inflammation by directly inhibiting pro-inflammatory signaling pathways and limiting the build-up of specific lipid intermediates that elicit immune responses. In the context of obesity and chronic disease, these reciprocal responses involve both immune and metabolic cells. Therefore, the immunometabolism of AMPK-mediated processes and therapeutics should be considered in atherosclerosis and insulin resistance.

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