Redox changes in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes

Bato Korac, Andjelika Kalezic, Vanja Pekovic-Vaughan, Aleksandra Korac, Aleksandra Jankovic, Redox changes in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, Redox Biology, 2021, 101887, ISSN 2213-2317,


“Life is an instantaneous encounter of circulating matter and flowing energy” (Jean Giaja, Serbian physiologist), is one of the most elegant definitions not only of life but the relationship of redox biology and metabolism. Their evolutionary liaison has created inseparable yet dynamic homeostasis in health, which, when disrupted, leads to disease. This interconnection is even more pertinent today, in an era of increasing metabolic diseases of epidemic proportions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Despite great advances in understanding the molecular mechanisms of redox and metabolic regulation, we face significant challenges in preventing, diagnosing, and treating metabolic diseases. The etiological association and temporal overlap of these syndromes present significant challenges for the discrimination of appropriate clinical biomarkers for diagnosis, treatment, and outcome prediction. These multifactorial, multiorgan metabolic syndromes with complex etiopathogenic mechanisms are accompanied by disturbed redox equilibrium in target tissues and circulation. Free radicals and reactive species are considered both a causal factor and a consequence of disease status. Thus, determining the subtypes and levels of free radicals and reactive species, oxidatively damaged biomolecules (lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids) and antioxidant defense components as well as redox-sensitive transcription factors and fluxes of redox-dependent metabolic pathways will help define existing and establish novel redox biomarkers for stratifying metabolic diseases. This review aims to discuss diverse redox/metabolic aspects in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, with the imperative to help establish a platform for emerging and future redox-metabolic biomarkers research in precision medicine. Future research warrants detailed investigations into the status of redox biomarkers in healthy subjects and patients, including the use of emerging ‘omic’ profiling technologies (e.g., redox proteomes, lipidomes, metabolomes, and transcriptomes), taking into account the influence of lifestyle (diet, physical activity, sleep, work patterns) as well as circadian ~24h fluctuations in circulatory factors and metabolites.

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