Background: Inflammation and oxidative stress play important roles in energy imbalance and its complications. Recent research indicates that hypothalamic inflammation may contribute to the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome and cardiac dysfunction, but the mechanisms remain unclear. We hypothesized that suppression of the proinflammatory IKKβ/NF-κB pathway in the hypothalamus can improve energy balance and cardiac function in type 2 diabetic (T2D) rats. Methods: Normal and T2D rats received bilateral hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) infusions of the IKKβ inhibitor SC-514 or vehicle via osmotic minipump. Metabolic phenotyping, immunohistochemical analyses, and biochemical analyses were used to investigate the outcomes of inhibition of the hypothalamic IKKβ. Echocardiography and glucometer were used for measuring cardiac function and blood glucose, respectively. Blood samples were collected for the evaluation of circulating proinflammatory cytokines. Heart was harvested for cardiac morphology evaluations. The ARC was harvested and analyzed for IKKβ, NF-κB, proinflammatory cytokines, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and NAD(P)H (gp91phox, p47phox) oxidase activity levels and neuropeptides. Results: Compared with normal rats, T2D rats were characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, glucose intolerance, cardiac dysfunction, as well as higher ARC levels of IKKβ, NF-κB, proinflammatory cytokines, ROS, gp91phox, and p47phox. ARC infusion of the IKKβ inhibitor SC-514 attenuated all these changes in T2D rats, but not in normal rats. Conclusions: Our results indicate that the hypothalamic IKKβ/NF-κB pathway plays a key role in modulating energy imbalance and cardiac dysfunction, suggesting its potential therapeutic role during type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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