BACKGROUND. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is an obesity-driven condition of pandemic proportions that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Pathophysiological mechanisms are poorly understood, though inflammation has been implicated in MetS pathogenesis. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of galantamine, a centrally acting acetylcholinesterase inhibitor with antiinflammatory properties, on markers of inflammation implicated in insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk, and other metabolic and cardiovascular indices in subjects with MetS. METHODS. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, subjects with MetS (30 per group) received oral galantamine 8 mg daily for 4 weeks, followed by 16 mg daily for 8 weeks or placebo. The primary outcome was inflammation assessed through plasma levels of cytokines and adipokines associated with MetS. Secondary endpoints included body weight, fat tissue depots, plasma glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL), triglycerides, BP, heart rate, and heart rate variability (HRV). RESULTS. Galantamine resulted in lower plasma levels of proinflammatory molecules TNF (–2.57 pg/ml [95% CI –4.96 to –0.19]; P = 0.035) and leptin (–12.02 ng/ml [95% CI –17.71 to –6.33]; P < 0.0001), and higher levels of the antiinflammatory molecules adiponectin (2.71 μg/ml [95% CI 1.93 to 3.49]; P < 0.0001) and IL-10 (1.32 pg/ml, [95% CI 0.29 to 2.38]; P = 0.002) as compared with placebo. Galantamine also significantly lowered plasma insulin and HOMA-IR values, and altered HRV. CONCLUSION. Low-dose galantamine alleviates inflammation and insulin resistance in MetS subjects. These findings support further study of galantamine in MetS therapy.
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