White adipose tissue (WAT) is a major endocrine and secretory organ, which releases a wide range of protein signals and factors termed adipokines. A number of adipokines, including leptin, adiponectin, tumour necrosis factor alpha, IL-1beta (interleukin 1beta), IL-6, monocyte chemotactic protein-1, macrophage migration inhibitory factor, nerve growth factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 and haptoglobin, are linked to inflammation and the inflammatory response. Obesity is characterized by a state of chronic mild inflammation, with raised circulating levels of inflammatory markers and the expression and release of inflammation-related adipokines generally rises as adipose tissue expands (adiponectin, which has anti-inflammatory action is an exception). The elevated production of inflammation-related adipokines is increasingly considered to be important in the development of diseases linked to obesity, particularly Type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. WAT is involved in extensive cross-talk with other organs and multiple metabolic systems through the various adipokines.