Shu Wang

Shu Wang

Texas Tech University,USA

Title: Inflammation and chronic diseases: The role of dietary fat


Shu Wang has more than 10 years of research experience in the area of nutrition and chronic diseases. Following medical training, her PhD study in Human Nutrition and Metabolism from Tufts University provided additional and specific training in molecular nutrition, inflammation, and chronic diseases. The relationship between dietary components, especially lipids, and chronic diseases was her interest. Some peer reviewed papers have been published in this research area. Currently, she is an assistant professor at Texas Tech University.


Inflammation sets the stage for chronic diseases. Increased adipose tissue in overweight and obese subjects may function as an active endocrine organ. Both adipocytes and infiltrated macrophages can secrete numerous proinflammatory factors, cytokines, and adipokines. Circulating proinflammatory factors can amplify inflammatory reactions in other tissues through endocrine mechanisms. Our recent study demonstrates that blood inflammatory biomarkers provide a more sensitive and accurate assessment than blood cholesterol and triglyceride for overweight and obese individuals. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the United States. Inflammation is recognized as an important contributing factor to the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Dietary fat plays a multifactorial role in obesity and cardiovascular disease development. An animal study using LDL receptor null (LDLr−/−) mice demonstrates that diets high in saturated fat result in increased plasma inflammatory factor concentrations and higher expression of inflammatory factors in macrophages, livers, and adipose tissues, less favorable lipoprotein profile, higher macrophage cholesterol accumulation and inflammatory factor secretion, and more aortic wall macrophage deposition, which in turn are associated with greater aortic cholesterol accumulation and more aortic lesion formation. However, diets high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) lowers the inflammatory response and minimizes atherosclerotic lesion formation in the same animal model. Dietary fat also regulates the expression of critical genes involved in lipogenesis and lipolysis in livers and adipose tissues. In summary, dietary fat plays an important role in the development of obesity and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease through regulating both lipid metabolism and inflammation.