Novel insights into the pathogenesis and management of the metabolic syndrome

Helen H. Wang, Dong Ki Lee, Min Liu, Piero Portincasa, David Q.H. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


The metabolic syndrome, by definition, is not a disease but is a clustering of individual metabolic risk factors including abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hypertension, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These risk factors could dramatically increase the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The reported prevalence of the metabolic syndrome varies, greatly depending on the definition used, gender, age, socioeconomic status, and the ethnic background of study cohorts. Clinical and epidemiological studies have clearly demonstrated that the metabolic syndrome starts with central obesity. Because the prevalence of obesity has doubly increased worldwide over the past 30 years, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome has markedly boosted in parallel. Therefore, obesity has been recognized as the leading cause for the metabolic syndrome since it is strongly associated with all metabolic risk factors. High prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is not unique to the USA and Europe and it is also increasing in most Asian countries. Insulin resistance has elucidated most, if not all, of the pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome because it contributes to hyperglycemia. Furthermore, a major contributor to the development of insulin resistance is an overabundance of circulating fatty acids. Plasma fatty acids are derived mainly from the triglycerides stored in adipose tissues, which are released through the action of the cyclic AMP-dependent enzyme, hormone sensitive lipase. This review summarizes the latest concepts in the definition, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, and diagnosis of the metabolic syndrome, as well as its preventive measures and therapeutic strategies in children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number189
JournalPediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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