The Study of Inflammation and How it Relates to Chronic Diseases

And How OHAUS Plays a Small Role

Table of Contents

Debates Over Causality
Necessary Lab Tools
Download the Frontier Rotor Guide


In recent years, inflammation has become a focus of intense research in many medical and scientific fields. Roni Nowarski, assistant professor of neurology and immunology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, explains that inflammation is “important across a range of seemingly distinct pathologies because immune cells are everywhere, even resident in organs, where they play an important role in monitoring and maintaining health.”

The idea that inflammation—constant, low-level, immune-system activation —could be at the root of chronic diseases such as cancer, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even depression is a bold claim. Until relatively recently, this claim was met with skepticism in labs and lecture halls. Can unconnected illnesses of different organs and body parts really share a biological link? Researchers in molecular biology have been compiling evidence that many chronic conditions are triggered by the immune system’s inflammatory response.

Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, Simmons professor of genetics and metabolism at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, has constructed his research for the past 25 years on the premise that a person who has any chronic metabolic disease is more likely to develop others. “This is exactly the same cluster that emerges during aging,” he says.

Debates Over Causality

Back in 1993, Hotamisligil teamed up with Bruce Spiegelman, Korsmeyer professor of cell biology and medicine to identify the link between obesity and inflammation. The research duo discovered that fat cells produce an inflammatory signal that interferes with the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. In addition to leading to obesity, this increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Epidemiological studies have helped spotlight the importance of lifestyle choices in controlling inflammation. In 2018, Samia Mora, a cardiovascular specialist and associate professor at Harvard Medical School, published a study of the Mediterranean diet, and its positive impact on reducing inflammation and the chances of developing chronic diseases.
CentrifugesCritics argue that inflammation is a symptom in these diseases, rather than a root cause. But Hotamisligil disagrees. “Chronic inflammation is uniformly damaging and is absolutely causal to the process, because if you interfere with it, you can reverse the pathology,” he argues. This ability to ward off diseases simply by reversing inflammation is a biological response, dating back to the time of a common ancestor and retained across diverse species of animals. Hotamisligil points to experimental evidence: “If you can make Drosophila [fruit fly] diabetic, and then block the inflammatory response systems, you can cure diabetes in Drosophila, the same way you can reverse it in the mouse, in primates, and in humans, provided that you do it with the right tools.”

Necessary Lab Tools

Among the most important pieces of lab equipment needed for this type of research is a high-speed centrifuge. The Frontier™ 5000 Series Micro from OHAUS is an excellent choice as it can accommodate multiple rotor options and is available with or without refrigeration.

Designed for ease of operation, Frontier Micro centrifuges feature a uniquely designed splash-proof front panel with touchwheel control. An intuitive interface and easy-read, backlit LCD display allows for responsive operation – even when wearing gloves. Available biocontainment rotors enable research involving hazardous samples. The compact design saves valuable bench space in the lab.
CentrifugesDependable benchtop micro centrifuges from OHAUS are ideal for high-speed molecular biology lab applications, such as DNA/RNA preparation, ultrafiltration, and more.

Frontier centrifuges offer excellent functionality when used with rotors compatible with 1.5/2.0ml or 5ml microtubes with high throughput and biocontainment options, spin columns, PCR strips, cryo tubes and hematocrit capillaries.

The OHAUS Frontier series consists of Multi Pro, Multi, Micro and Mini centrifuges. These four designs cover a range of sizes to meet all sample separation needs.

The Frontier series also includes multiple safety controls, a maintenance-free induction motor, 10 acceleration/deceleration settings, and 99 memory sets for easy data storage.

CentrifugesFrontier Rotor Guide

To determine which model will best suit your needs, refer to the OHAUS Frontier 5000 Rotor Guide. This will help you choose the right model and rotor package for all basic and advanced centrifugation applications.

1 Shaw, Jonathan. “Raw and Red-Hot: Could inflammation be the cause of myriad chronic conditions?” Harvard Magazine, June 2019.
2 Multiple authors. “Inflammation and Cancer,” National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, September 2019.