Immunity as a link between obesity and insulin resistance

Mol Aspects Med. 2012 Feb;33(1):26-34. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2011.10.011. Epub 2011 Oct 21.


Obesity is a major public health problem in the United States and worldwide. Further, obesity is causally linked to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes (T2D). A chronic low-grade inflammation occurring in adipose tissue is at least in part responsible for the obesity-induced insulin resistance. This adipose tissue inflammation is characterized by changes in immune cell populations giving rise to altered adipo/cytokine profiles, which in turn induces skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin resistance. Detailed molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance, adipose tissue inflammation and the implications of these findings on therapeutic strategies are discussed in this review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Insulin Resistance / immunology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / immunology
  • Obesity / immunology*