Hypothalamic inflammation: a double-edged sword to nutritional diseases
Article first published online: 9 FEB 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1243, The Year in Diabetes and Obesity pages E1–E39, December 2011
How to Cite
Cai, D. and Liu, T. (2011), Hypothalamic inflammation: a double-edged sword to nutritional diseases. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1243: E1–E39. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06388.x
- Issue published online: 23 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 9 FEB 2012
- energy balance;
The hypothalamus is one of the master regulators of various physiological processes, including energy balance and nutrient metabolism. These regulatory functions are mediated by discrete hypothalamic regions that integrate metabolic sensing with neuroendocrine and neural controls of systemic physiology. Neurons and nonneuronal cells in these hypothalamic regions act supportively to execute metabolic regulations. Under conditions of brain and hypothalamic inflammation, which may result from overnutrition-induced intracellular stresses or disease-associated systemic inflammatory factors, extracellular and intracellular environments of hypothalamic cells are disrupted, leading to central metabolic dysregulations and various diseases. Recent research has begun to elucidate the effects of hypothalamic inflammation in causing diverse components of metabolic syndrome leading to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These new understandings have provocatively expanded previous knowledge on the cachectic roles of brain inflammatory response in diseases, such as infections and cancers. This review describes the molecular and cellular characteristics of hypothalamic inflammation in metabolic syndrome and related diseases as opposed to cachectic diseases, and also discusses concepts and potential applications of inhibiting central/hypothalamic inflammation to treat nutritional diseases.