March 24, 2022

Reducing obesity-related inflammation

A treatment that increases levels of lipid signaling molecules reduced adipose tissue inflammation in obese adults, suggesting this pathway may be a valuable target for modulating fat and systemic inflammation.

by Lindsey Guerin

Obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent in the U.S. Due to increased risk for related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, obesity poses a significant, and growing, public health concern. 

Adipose tissue expansion, which accompanies obesity, results in increased systemic inflammation. Inhibiting the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) can increase levels of epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs), ultimately reducing inflammation in animal models. 

To investigate whether this pathway reduces inflammation in humans, Mona Mashayekhi, MD, PhD, and colleagues treated obese adults with an sEH inhibitor. Reporting in Prostaglandins and Other Lipid Mediators, the authors profiled adipose T cells and found sEH inhibition resulted in reduced interferon-gamma-producing cells and secreted tumor necrosis factor-alpha, two pro-inflammatory markers. 

Overall, the researchers concluded that sEH inhibition reduced adipose tissue inflammation in humans. However, they did not find significant alterations in adipose EET levels, suggesting further studies into anti-inflammatory effects of this pathway in humans may be warranted.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants DK117875, TR000445).