11/17/09 Fat and Inflammation

Tuesday’s reading is here:

The Role of the Gut Microbiota in Energy Metabolism and Metabolic Disease

Last week we introduced the concept that visceral fat may play a protective role in early childhood. As was mentioned in class, visceral fat is innervated by sympathetic nerve fibers. When under stress, the sympathetic nervous system causes the release of catecholamines – including adrenalin (epinephrine). Sympathetic innervation of visceral fat also leads to the release of free fatty acids from fat depots into the bloodstream. Free fatty acids are important in feeding the brain, but also elicit inflammatory effects. Inflammation might be useful early in life, promoting survival from infection, but can cause diabetes and heart disease later.

The Cani and Delzanne reference is a great review of what we know about gut pathogens and inflammation. I will also present data that support the hypothesis that inflammatory pathways from fat evolved because of the effect of fat on pathogens.
JA

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