In peripheral tissues, the link between obesity and insulin resistance involves low-grade inflammation induced by macrophage activation and proinflammatory cytokine signaling. Since proinflammatory cytokines are also induced in the hypothalamus of animals placed on a high-fat (HF) diet and can inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways required for normal energy homeostasis, hypothalamic inflammation is hypothesized to contribute to the pathogenesis of diet-induced obesity (DIO). We addressed this hypothesis by perturbing the inflammatory milieu of the hypothalamus in adult male Wistar rats using intracerebroventricular (icv) administration of interleukin-4 (IL-4), a Th2 cytokine that promotes alternative activation (M2) of macrophages and microglia. During HF feeding, icv IL-4 administration increased hypothalamic proinflammatory cytokine gene expression and caused excess weight gain. Intracerebroventricular pretreatment with PS1145, an inhibitor of IKKβ (a key intracellular mediator of inflammatory signaling), blocked both IL-4 effects, suggesting a causal relationship between IL-4-induced weight gain and hypothalamic inflammation. These observations add to growing evidence linking hypothalamic inflammation to obesity pathogenesis.
- high-fat diet
- Iκβ kinase
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