Estrogens, inflammation and obesity: An overview

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Emerging research has suggested that inflammatory stress may play a role in the development of obesity. Both the leptin and insulin receptor are sensitive to intracellular inflammatory signaling that can be stimulated through toll-like receptor 4 activation by saturated fat. Pharmacological intervention within this cascade often protects animals from becoming obese, thus highlighting inflammatory pathways as a possible site of study in the prevention of pathologic weight gain. It has been well established in animal models that females display a marked reduction in the susceptibility to weight gain on high-fat diets compared to males. In addition, it has been widely accepted that females are partially protected from inflammatory-related diseases. At the molecular level, this reduction in disease susceptibility has been suggested to be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of 17 β-estradiol. Through direct free radical scavenging, transcriptional regulation, and protein interactions, chronic exposure to estradiol can reduce systemic inflammatory stress. As the knowledge base continues to grow on the etiology of obesity, further research is needed on the precise molecular pathways that can be inhibited by estradiol. Understanding of such pathways may provide a basis for the future use of estrogen and its related compounds (daidzein, genistein, resveratrol) to prevent weight gain in peri- and post-menopausal females. © 2012 Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Frontiers in Biology





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This article was published in Frontiers in Biology, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 40-47.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11515-011-1174-y.

Copyright © 2012 Springer.

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