Lege Artis Medicinae

[The changing concept of the metabolic syndrome in the past two decades]

HALMOS Tamás, SUBA Ilona

JANUARY 20, 2010

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2010;20(01)

[The introduction of the concept of the metabolic syndrome (MS) (1988) had a great significance from both a theoretical and a clinical point of view. The concept and the assesment of this syndrome has been widely criticized during the past two decades, however, many new components and even new diseases have been added to its defintion. These significant changes motivated us to complete and modify our previous review on this topic published in this journal more than ten years ago. In addition to the classical concept of MS, we discuss its various definitions, in which no consensus has been reached. Besides the two characteristic features, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinism, we discuss the etiological role of endothelial dysfunction, overactivity of the symphato-adrenal system, endocrine activity of the adipose tissue, and low-degree inflammation. We also discuss the roles of the Peroxisome- Proliferator Activated Receptor system and the ubiquitin proteasome system in certain metabolic and inflammatory processes. Recently, the causal unity of the syndrome has been questioned, which has generated an extended and still ongoing debate. For the clinicians, however, the most important fact is that individuals with the characteristic symptoms of the syndrome represent a significant number of the population and are at hight risk of severe cardiovascular conditions. Finally, we outline the newly discovered relationships of the syndrome with other diseases that have a great public health importance, such as cancers, Alzheimer disease, sleep apnoe, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We also discuss the supposed common pathomechanisms of these conditions. These associations further increase the significance of MS in terms of both therapy and prevention.]

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