Lymphatic system: a vital link between metabolic syndrome and inflammation.
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Metabolic syndrome is defined by a cluster of different metabolic risk factors that include overall and central obesity, elevated fasting glucose levels, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and intimal atherogenesis. Metabolic syndrome leads to increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (e.g., heart disease and stroke). The exacerbated progression of metabolic syndrome to cardiovascular disease has lead to intense study of the physiological ramifications of metabolic syndrome on the blood vasculature. These studies have particularly focused on the signaling and architectural alterations that manifest in hypertension and atherosclerosis. However, despite the overlap of metabolic syndrome pathology with lymphatic function, tangent effects on the lymphatic system have not been extensively documented. In this review, we discuss the current status of metabolic syndrome and provide evidence for, and the remaining challenges in studying, the connections among the lymphatic system, lipid transport, obesity, insulin resistance, and general inflammation.