Oxidant mechanisms in childhood obesity: the link between inflammation and oxidative stress

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Evidence of obesity-induced oxidative stress in adults has emerged in the past several years, and similar evidence has been demonstrated in children more recently. The reactive species of oxygen or nitrogen can chemically alter all major classes of biomolecules by modifying their structure and function. Organisms have developed mechanisms to protect biomolecules from the deleterious effects of free radicals. These include the enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase, as well as water and lipid-soluble antioxidants, such as glutathione, ascorbate (vitamin C), α-tocopherol (vitamin E), and β-carotene. Obesity creates oxidant conditions that favor the development of comorbid diseases. Energy imbalances lead to the storage of excess energy in adipocytes, resulting in both hypertrophy and hyperplasia. These processes are associated with abnormalities of adipocyte function, particularly mitochondrial stress and disrupted endoplasmic reticulum function. In this sense, oxidative stress can also be induced by adipocyte associated inflammatory macrophages. There is a close link among obesity, a state of chronic low-level inflammation, and oxidative stress. In addition, the dysregulation of adipocytokines, which are secreted by adipose tissue and promoted by oxidative stress, act synergistically in obesity-related metabolic abnormalities. Adipocytokines link the local and systemic inflammation responses in the context of obesity. It is thought that the evaluation of oxidative status may allow for the identification of patients at an increased risk of complications. Decreasing the levels of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress in childhood may decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in adulthood.

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