Obesity and malnutrition similarly alter the renin-angiotensin system and inflammation in mice and human adipose

J Nutr Biochem. 2017 Oct;48:74-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2017.06.008. Epub 2017 Jun 24.


The main goal of the present study was to evaluate the metabolic profile, inflammatory markers and the gene expression of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) components in the visceral adipose tissue of eutrophic, obese and malnourished individuals and mice models of obesity and food restriction. Male Swiss mice were divided into eight groups and fed different levels of food restriction (20%, 40%, or 60%) using standard or high-fat diet. Metabolic profile and adipose tissues were assessed. The expression of AGT (Angiotensinogen), ACE (Angiotensin-converting enzyme), ACE2 (Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in the mice epididymal adipose tissue and the human visceral adipose tissue was assessed. The main findings showed reduced body weight, improved metabolism, decreased adipose tissues weight and reduced adipocyte area in mice submitted to food restriction. Diminished expression of IL-6, TNF-α, AGT, AT1 and ACE was detected in the 20% and 40% food restriction animal groups, although they were increased in the 60% malnourished group. Increased expression of IL-6, TNF-α, AGT and ACE in obese and malnourished individuals was observed. Adipocytes size was increased in obese individuals and reduced in malnutrition. In conclusion, we found that food restriction of 20% and 40% improved the metabolic profile, ameliorated the inflammatory status and down-regulated the RAS in mice. Severe 60% food restriction (malnutrition), however, stimulated a proinflammatory state and increased AGT and ACE expression in the adipose tissue of mice. A similar profile was observed in the adipose tissue of obese and malnourished humans, supporting the critical role of inflammation and RAS as mediators of metabolic disorders.

Keywords: Food restriction; Inflammatory mediators; Malnutrition; Obesity; Renin–angiotensin system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / metabolism
  • Malnutrition / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Panniculitis / etiology
  • Panniculitis / physiopathology*
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol