"This proof of principle sheds light on the physiology of inflammation and its relation to cardiac risk in obese patients," says Steven Grinspoon, MD, of the MGH Program in Nutritional Metabolism and Neuroendocrine Unit, the report's senior author. "And it's the first study of the medication etanercept, currently prescribed to treat arthritis and psoriasis, used in patients with the metabolic syndrome."
Metabolic syndrome is a group of symptoms that includes abdominal obesity, high triglycerides and LDL ("bad") cholesterol along with low HDL ("good") cholesterol, insulin resistance or glucose intolerance, and abnormal levels of several inflammatory proteins. The occurrence of the syndrome is increasing, and it is estimated to affect more than 50 million Americans currently. Also called insulin resistance syndrome, metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disorders, as well as type 2 diabetes. While there are many questions about the mechanism behind metabolic syndrome, current evidence suggests that inflammatory proteins released by abdominal fat may be an underlying cause of the increased cardiovascular risk.
One of the key inflammatory proteins released by fat cells is tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which is known to increase insulin resistance and the production of other inflammatory markers. Etanercept, marketed under the brand name Enbrel, treats seve
Contact: Sue McGreevey
Massachusetts General Hospital