Endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, and oxidative stress in obese children and adolescents: markers and effect of lifestyle intervention


Dr A Vinet, Laboratoire de Pharm-Ecologie Cardiovasculaire, Faculty of Sciences, 33 rue Louis Pasteur, 84000 Avignon, France. E-mail: agnes.vinet@univ-avignon.fr


With an increasing prevalence, pediatric obesity is often a prelude to adulthood obesity, and represents a major public health issue. Comorbidities are very common and severe in obese adults, justifying the search for earlier markers or risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in obese children. Endothelial dysfunction has been found to be present in the early stages of atherosclerosis, and can be non-invasively assessed with widely accepted and well-standardized techniques at the macrocirculation level. Endothelial dysfunction at the microcirculation level is less documented in obese children. Obesity in children has been repeatedly and independently correlated to endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and oxidative stress markers, although the relationship between these factors remains to be investigated. However, this would not only allow substantial improvements in risk stratification, but also provide essential data regarding the evolution of endothelial dysfunction in childhood obesity, especially during puberty when pro-inflammatory and pro-oxidative changes, with relative insulin resistance, occur. Therapeutic strategies such as lifestyle interventions in early childhood obesity appear all the more necessary, optimally including both exercise and diet because of their known effects on inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, potentially reversing endothelial dysfunction.