Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 741–762

Metabolic syndrome as a risk factor for neurological disorders

  • Akhlaq A. Farooqui
  • Tahira Farooqui
  • Francesco Panza
  • Vincenza Frisardi
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00018-011-0840-1

Cite this article as:
Farooqui, A.A., Farooqui, T., Panza, F. et al. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2012) 69: 741. doi:10.1007/s00018-011-0840-1

Abstract

The metabolic syndrome is a cluster of common pathologies: abdominal obesity linked to an excess of visceral fat, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension. At the molecular level, metabolic syndrome is accompanied not only by dysregulation in the expression of adipokines (cytokines and chemokines), but also by alterations in levels of leptin, a peptide hormone released by white adipose tissue. These changes modulate immune response and inflammation that lead to alterations in the hypothalamic ‘bodyweight/appetite/satiety set point,’ resulting in the initiation and development of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a risk factor for neurological disorders such as stroke, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. The molecular mechanism underlying the mirror relationship between metabolic syndrome and neurological disorders is not fully understood. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that all cellular and biochemical alterations observed in metabolic syndrome like impairment of endothelial cell function, abnormality in essential fatty acid metabolism and alterations in lipid mediators along with abnormal insulin/leptin signaling may represent a pathological bridge between metabolic syndrome and neurological disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. The purpose of this review is not only to describe the involvement of brain in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, but also to link the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome with neurochemical changes in stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and depression to a wider audience of neuroscientists with the hope that this discussion will initiate more studies on the relationship between metabolic syndrome and neurological disorders.

Keywords

Metabolic syndrome Insulin Leptin Insulin resistance Inflammation Oxidative stress Hypertension Stroke Alzheimer’s disease Depression 

Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akhlaq A. Farooqui
    • 1
  • Tahira Farooqui
    • 1
  • Francesco Panza
    • 2
  • Vincenza Frisardi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiochemistryOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Geriatric Unit and Gerontology-Geriatric Research LaboratoryIRCCS Casa Sollievo della SofferenzaSan Giovanni RotondoItaly

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