Defining macrophage phenotype and function in adipose tissue

Trends Immunol. 2011 Jul;32(7):307-14. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 May 26.


In obesity, chronic low-grade inflammation is thought to mediate the effects of increased adipose tissue mass on metabolic comorbidity. Of the different cell types that contribute to obesity-induced inflammation in adipose tissue, this review focuses on macrophages and their monocytes precursors. Mechanisms for monocyte recruitment to adipose tissue, and how both monocytes and macrophages are phenotypically modified in this environment in response to increasing fat mass, are considered. The versatile phenotype of adipose tissue macrophages might contribute not only to inflammatory and metabolic alterations, but could also help to maintain adipose tissue homeostasis in the setting of obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Phenotype