Chronic inflammation of obesity: How it affects blood vessel cells – TheHealthSite

Posted: January 5, 2021 at 11:51 am

Obesity is today a global epidemic and most people across countries and cultures fight the menace constantly. This condition is dangerous as it can lead to severe health complications. When fat cells in the body are stuffed with excess fat, the surrounding tissue becomes inflamed. That chronic, low-level inflammation is one of the driving factors behind many of the diseases associated with obesity. Now, UT Southwestern scientists have discovered a type of cell responsible, at least in mice, for triggering this inflammation in fat tissue. Their findings, published in Nature Metabolism, could eventually lead to new ways to treat obesity. Also Read - Brown fat may protect you against cardiac, metabolic conditions: How is it different from white fat?

The inflammation of fat cells in obese individuals is linked to many of the comorbidities we associate with being overweight cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and infection. By identifying these cells, researchers have taken a step toward understanding some of the initial events that contribute to that inflammation. When a person consumes more calories than needed, the excess calories are stored in the form of triglycerides inside fat tissue, also known as white adipose tissue (WAT). Researchers know that in obese people, WAT becomes overworked, fat cells begin to die, and immune cells become activated. But the exact mechanism by which this inflammation occurs isnt fully understood. Also Read - Obese women more likely to suffer hip fracture earlier than others

While many studies have focused on the signaling molecules produced by the fat cells or immune cells in WAT that might contribute to inflammation, researchers of this study tried a different approach. They focused instead on the vessels that carry blood as well as immune cells and inflammatory molecules into WAT. Earlier, in 2018, this team identified a new type of cell lining these blood vessels in mice an adipose progenitor cell (APC), or precursor cell that goes on to generate mature fat cells. But unlike most APCs, the new cells dubbed fibro-inflammatory progenitors, or FIPs produced signals that encouraged inflammation. In the new work, the researchers looked more closely at the role of the FIPs in mediating inflammation. Also Read - Are you obese? Go in for bariatric surgery to bring down your risk of pancreatic cancer

Within just one day of switching young male mice to a high-fat diet, researchers discovered that the FIPs quickly increased the number of inflammatory molecules produced. After 28 days on a high-fat diet, they found a substantial increase in the proportion of FIPs compared with other APCs. This is the first study to demonstrate that these cells play a very active, early role in being gatekeepers of inflammation in fat tissue.

To show that the increase in the number and activity of the FIPs was not just a side effect of already-inflamed fat cells, the team removed a key immune signaling gene, Tlr4, from the FIPs in some mice. After five months on a high-fat diet, the mice lacking Tlr4 had gained just as much weight, and just as much fat, as other mice on a high-fat diet. But the genetically engineered mice with FIPs that could no longer generate the same signals no longer had high levels of inflammation. Instead, the levels of inflammatory molecules in their WAT were closer to the levels seen in mice on low-fat diets. The team went on to show that increasing levels of a related signaling molecule, ZFP423, in FIPs can also ameliorate the inflammation in mouse fat cells.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Published : January 2, 2021 2:46 pm

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Chronic inflammation of obesity: How it affects blood vessel cells - TheHealthSite

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