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Minerva Endocrinologica 2002 September;27(3):209-14

language: Italian

Obesity and low-grade systemic inflammation

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The aim of this review is to deal with the significance of obesity as a promotor of a chronic low-grade inflammatory reaction favouring the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Adipose tissue synthetizes and releases inflammatory cytokines involved in various atherothrombotic mechanisms and in glucose and lipid metabolism. A local renin-angiotensin system may partially support the obesity related hypertension. Most obese subjects had elevated plasma levels of inflammatory markers which correlate with the degree of obesity and insulin resistance and decrease after weight reduction and exercise. Some evidences suggest that long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and thiazolidinediones may be useful in preventing atherosclerosis. Obesity, by itself, has been considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The hypothesis that it is linked to the associated low-grade chronic inflammation is supported by the existence of altered indexes of chronic inflammation also in obese children who are free of other pathological conditions. Further research will be required to determine the pathophysiological meaning of the chronic inflammation associated to obesity.

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