Obesity-related sub-acute chronic inflammation has been associated with incident type 2 diabetes and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Inflammation is increasingly considered to be a pathologic mediator of these commonly co-occurring diseases. A growing number of preclinical and clinical studies support the inflammatory hypothesis, but clinical trials to confirm the therapeutic potential to target inflammation to treat or prevent cardiometabolic conditions are still ongoing. There are multiple inflammatory signaling pathways. Regulation is complex, with substantial crosstalk across these multiple pathways. The activity of select pathways may be differentially regulated in different tissues. Pharmacologic approaches to diabetes management may have direct or indirect antiinflammatory effects, the latter potentially attributable to an improved metabolic state. Conversely, some antiinflammatory approaches may affect glucose metabolism and cardiovascular health. To date, clinical trials suggest that targeting one portion of the inflammatory cascade may differentially affect dysglycemia and atherothrombosis. Understanding the underlying biological processes may contribute to the development of safe and effective therapies, although a single approach may not be sufficient for optimal management of both metabolic and athrothrombotic disease states.
Allison B. Goldfine, Steven E. Shoelson