Linking vascular inflammation to obesity and atherosclerosis

New research reveals that IKKβ inhibitors reduce diet-induced obesity. These images show that fat mass is significantly decreased in mice treated with IKKβ inhibitors (right) compared with a control group (left). Credit: Sui et al., 2014

A study in The Journal of Experimental Medicine shows that IκB kinase β (IKKβ) functions in smooth muscle cells to regulate vascular inflammatory responses and atherosclerosis development.

Inflammatory responses are the driving force of atherosclerosis, a process that involves the hardening and thickening of artery walls due to excess fatty deposits. IKKβ is a central coordinator of that has been implicated in vascular diseases, but its role in atherosclerosis has been unclear.

Now, Changcheng Zhou and colleagues from the University of Kentucky show that deficiency of IKKβ in decreases vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis development in mice. Surprisingly, the lack of IKKβ also blocks the differentiation of and causes an accumulation of body fat precursor cells, thus protecting the animals from diet-induced obesity. These novel findings suggest that the kinase acts as a regulator of fat cell differentiation. The use of IKKβ inhibitors may therefore provide an innovative treatment for atherosclerosis, obesity, and metabolic disorders.

More information: Sui, Y., et al. 2014. J. Exp. Med. DOI: 10.1084/jem.20131281

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The role of inflammation on atherosclerosis

May 01, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- European scientists dig into atherosclerotic plaque formation processes to investigate the part played by inflammation and vascular wall remodelling.

Recommended for you

Study reveals nervous system's role in asthma attacks

Jul 22, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Asthma is a debilitating condition that kills 250,000 people around the world each year. People with asthma have hyperreactive airways and thickened lung walls obstructed with mucus. During ...

New diagnostic test to distinguish psoriasis from eczema

Jul 10, 2014

In some patients, the chronic inflammatory skin diseases psoriasis and eczema are similar in appearance. Up to now, dermatologists have therefore had to base their decision on which treatment should be selected on their own ...

User comments