Role of adipokines in the obesity-inflammation relationship: the effect of fat removal

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Sep 15;118(4):1048-1057. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000232281.49432.ce.


During the past 10 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity in the United States and other developed nations. Recent studies indicate that adipose tissue is an endocrine organ producing numerous proteins, collectively referred to as adipokines, with broad biological activity, that play an important autocrine role in obesity-associated complications. Adipose tissue in general and visceral fat in particular are thought to be key regulators of inflammation. Inflammation is heavily involved in the onset and development of atherothrombotic disease. Moreover, chronic inflammation may also represent a triggering factor in the origin of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus. According to a hypothesis, stimuli such as overnutrition, physical inactivity, and aging would result in cytokine hypersecretion and eventually lead to insulin resistance and diabetes in genetically or metabolically predisposed individuals. This article discusses the current understanding of important adipokines thought to be involved in the metabolic and cardiovascular risk associated with obesity. Available evidence linking fat removal by liposuction to modification of cardiovascular risk and vascular inflammatory markers in the obese patient is also presented. Most studies have shown that liposuction produces beneficial effects on insulin resistance and vascular inflammation in the obese patient, reducing its cardiovascular risk. Besides having a significant role in body contouring of the obese patient at the end of the lengthy process of bariatric surgery and massive weight loss, plastic surgery should be incorporated into a multifaceted program of lifestyle changes that allows the obese patient to obtain weight loss and, more importantly, to maintain the reduced weight in the long term.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • C-Reactive Protein / immunology
  • Cytokines / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Lipectomy*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / immunology*
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • Adiponectin
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • C-Reactive Protein