Inflammation and obesity linked again


Regular readers of the Optimal Body Weight News & Reviews column may remember articles on the Zone Diet and the Perricone Weight Loss Diet, where the authors of these anti-inflammatory diets explained that obesity and inflammation go hand in hand. There may be differences in interpretation as to how it comes about, and the best approach to address it; but they both recognize the link between inflammation and obesity.

In both of these books, links between obesity and a number of diseases, including general fatigue, headaches, cancers and arthritis are also highlighted. Please note that while these two (Zone and Perricone) diets are discussed in this article about the link between inflammation and obesity, they are not necessarily the only two anti-inflammatory diets on the market, merely two of the more well-known weight loss programs focused on inflammation.

Now, it appears that a new study published in the April 2009 issue of “Cell Metabolism” may support at least some of these claims. While this study does not even touch on the effectiveness of any of the anti-inflammatory diets with regards to weight loss, it found clear evidence that an inflammatory chemokine (structurally related signaling proteins that are secreted by cells) called “CXCL5” rises and falls with obesity and subsequent weight loss in humans, and of course…mice.

This same inflammatory factor was already linked in previous studies to several diseases, including pulmonary disease, lung cancer, and arthritis. Now that it is also so clearly linked to obesity, it is also very likely that it may be responsible for insulin resistance that accompanies obesity.

Fat is stored in the body in a number of places, including in something called “white adipose tissue” or WAT. WAT is primarily responsible for energy storage, in the form of triglycerides; and energy release, in the form of free fatty acids. WAT also secretes many other factors that play important parts in regulating the health of the human body. In this new study, the researchers show that CXCL5 is one of those factors.


Researchers report that CXCL5 levels are dramatically increased in the blood of people who are obese when compared to lean individuals. The CXCL5 levels drop again when obese people lose weight and are also lower in obese individuals that continue to respond to insulin than in those who are insulin resistant.

Researchers went on to find that treatment with recombinant (genetically recombined) CXCL5 blocks insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in the muscles of mice. Also, when they treated insulin-resistant mice with either anti-CXCL5 neutralizing antibodies or drugs that block the receptor it triggers (known as CXCR2), the symptoms are reversed. Mice lacking the CXCL5 receptor are also protected against obesity-induced insulin resistance.

Lluis Fajas of INSERM in France commented on this study. “Clearly, this finding could be a big development for understanding the side effects of obesity. It offers a new target for therapy and new hope for subjects to improve their pathology.” It is expected that more research will be undertaken in the near future to clarify the role of WAT-secreted CXCL5 in obesity and obesity related diseases.

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2 Responses to “Inflammation and obesity linked again”


  • This past Easter weekend proves your point. I too consumed far too many carbs and can feel the impact. I feel very lethargic, but it takes me more than just two days to get over it.

  • Great article! I’ve read the actual research article as well, and this posting provides a easy to follow summary of the findings. All I can say is that I believe low carb eating is still the best way of eating, both for weight loss and for the reduction of inflammation. I can literally feel the impact of a carb overdose or binging session in body and mind. I typically feel lethargic and tired. It takes me a good two days to recover. I know this research did not say anything about the carbs, but I am sure the exact link between too much refined carbohydrates and inflammation will also be the subject of many studies in the future.

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