Anti-inflammatory effects of diet and caloric restriction in metabolic syndrome

J Endocrinol Invest. 2021 Nov;44(11):2407-2415. doi: 10.1007/s40618-021-01547-y. Epub 2021 Mar 8.


Background: Weight loss in patients with metabolic syndrome has positive effects on cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes risks, but its effects on peripheral cytokines and lipid profiles in patients are still unclear.

Aim: To determine the effects of diet-induced weight loss on metabolic parameters, lipids and cytokine profiles.

Methods: Eighteen adult males with metabolic syndrome (defined according to IDF 2009) and Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 35 kg/m2 were subjected to a balanced hypocaloric diet for 6 months to reach at least a 5% body weight loss.

Results: After weight loss, a significant improvement in BMI, waist circumference, insulin, fasting blood glucose and HOMA-IR (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) was observed. The analysis of LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) lipoproteins showed a change in their composition with a massive transfer of triacylglycerols from HDL to LDL. This was associated with a significant reduction in peripheral pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6, TNF-α, IL-8 and MIP-1β, leading to an overall decreased inflammatory score. An interesting positive correlation was also observed among peripheral cytokines levels after diet and peripheral levels of CETP (cholesteryl ester transfer protein), an enzyme with a key role in lipid change.

Conclusion: Weight loss through caloric restriction is associated with an improvement in peripheral lipid and cytokine profiles that may play a major role in improving cardiovascular risk.

Keywords: Caloric restriction; Cholesteryl ester transfer protein; Lipids; Metabolic syndrome; Pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caloric Restriction / methods
  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Diet, Reducing / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / diet therapy
  • Metabolic Syndrome* / immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood*
  • Weight Loss / immunology*


  • Cholesterol Ester Transfer Proteins
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Cytokines
  • Triglycerides