Inflammation in fat tissue helps prevent metabolic disease

June 18, 2014, UT Southwestern Medical Center

Chronic tissue inflammation is typically associated with obesity and metabolic disease, but new research from UT Southwestern Medical Center now finds that a level of "healthy" inflammation is necessary to prevent metabolic diseases, such as fatty liver.

"There is such a thing as 'healthy' inflammation, meaning inflammation that allows the tissue to grow and has overall benefits to the tissue itself and the whole body," said Dr. Philipp Scherer, Director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research and Professor of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology at UT Southwestern. "The same principle also applies in muscle: Exercise induces some inflammation in the tissue, but also leads to better and stronger muscles and, consequently, a healthier organism."

Using animal models, Dr. Scherer and his team, with first author, Dr. Ingrid Wernstedt Asterholm, former Assistant Instructor at UT Southwestern and current Assistant Professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, found that suppressing inflammation in results in reduced fat expansion and thus leaner mice, even when the animals are fed a high-fat diet. The findings were first published online June 12 in Cell Metabolism.

What Dr. Scherer, holder of the Gifford O. Touchstone, Jr. and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research, and his team expected to find that the reduced body fat content would lead to improvements in metabolism and a lower incidence of metabolic disease. Unexpectedly, the team found that the lean mice showed symptoms of metabolic disease, such as glucose intolerance.

This result might be because when fat tissue expands, it absorbs excess lipids, preventing them from being deposited in other tissues, such as the liver. Indeed, the animal models showed signs of fatty liver, caused by buildup of fat in liver cells, and a "leaky gut," caused by disruption of the gut wall.

"What our research shows is that we need some localized inflammation to remodel our fat tissue and to prevent such as fatty liver," said Dr. Asterholm. "This finding may explain in part why anti-inflammatory medicines have so far not been successful as anti-diabetic treatments. The effects of interventions that promote local low-level in fat tissue remain to be determined."

Explore further: Natural hormone molds leaner bodies in mice

Related Stories

Natural hormone molds leaner bodies in mice

June 6, 2014
A natural hormone that is increased by physical exercise and by exposure to cold improves blood sugar control, suppresses inflammation, and burns fat to mold leaner bodies in mice, report scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer ...

Study shows how 'body clock' dysregulation underlies obesity, more

May 14, 2014
A team of Texas A&M University System scientists have investigated how "body clock dysregulation" might affect obesity-related metabolic disorders.

Reducing liver protein SIRT1 levels

January 22, 2014
A new study led by Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) demonstrates that the abnormal metabolism linked to obesity could be regulated in part by the interaction of two metabolic regulators, called the NAD-dependent ...

Study unlocks origin of brown fat cells important in weight maintenance

September 26, 2013
In ongoing research aimed at battling obesity, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have deciphered how new fat cells are formed in energy-storing fat pads.

Blocking immune signaling stalls inflammation and insulin resistance tied to obesity

March 4, 2014
Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have found that blocking the action of a key signaling molecule in the immune system known as Netrin-1 stalls chronic inflammation and insulin resistance tied to obesity and often ...

Recommended for you

Chronic inflammation causes loss of muscle mass during aging

January 12, 2018
People start losing muscle mass at the age of 40—about some 10 percent of the total muscle mass for each 10-year period, which may lead to fall-related injuries, slowing metabolism and reduced quality of life. Today, very ...

Breathing exercises help asthma patients with quality of life

December 13, 2017
A study led by the University of Southampton has found that people who continue to get problems from their asthma, despite receiving standard treatment, experience an improved quality of life when they are taught breathing ...

Study highlights the need for research into prevention of inflammatory bowel disease

December 7, 2017
Countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America have seen a rise in incidence of inflammatory bowel disease as they have become increasingly industrialised and westernised, a new study has found.

Air pollution can increase asthma risk in adults, even at low levels

November 24, 2017
Living close to a busy road can be bad for your respiratory health if you are middle aged, new Australian research has found.

Evidence found of oral bacteria contributing to bowel disorders

October 20, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—An international team of researchers has found evidence that suggests certain types of oral bacteria may cause or exacerbate bowel disorders. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes ...

New compound discovered in fight against inflammatory disease

September 22, 2017
A 10-year study by University of Manchester scientists for a new chemical compound that is able to block a key component in inflammatory illness has ended in success.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.