Dietary polyphenols suppress elevated levels of proin flammatory mediators and aromatase in the mammary gland of obese mice
Mammary Glands, Human
In postmenopausal women, obesity is a risk factor for the development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer driven by estrogen. After menopause, aromatization of androgen precursors in adipose tissue is a major synthetic source of estrogen. Recently, in mouse models and women, we identified an obesity-inflammation-aromatase axis. This obesity-induced inflammation is characterized by crown-like structures (CLS) consisting of dead adipocytes encircled by macrophages in breast white adipose tissue. CLS occur in association with NF-κB activation, elevated levels of proinflammatory mediators, and increased aromatase expression. Saturated fatty acids released from adipocytes have been linked to obesity-related white adipose tissue inflammation. Here we found that stearic acid, a prototypic saturated fatty acid, stimulated Akt-dependent activation of NF-κB resulting in increased levels of proinflammatory mediators [TNF-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, COX-2] in macrophages leading, in turn, to the induction of aromatase. Several polyphenols (resveratrol, curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate) blocked these inductive effects of stearic acid. Zyflamend, a widely used polyherbal preparation that contains numerous polyphenols, possessed similar suppressive effects. In a mouse model of obesity, treatment with Zyflamend suppressed levels of phospho-Akt, NF-κB binding activity, proinflammatory mediators, and aromatase in the mammary gland. Collectively, these results suggest that targeting the activation of NF-κB is a promising approach for reducing levels of proinflammatory mediators and aromatase in inflamed mouse mammary tissue. Further investigation in obese women is warranted.