The inflammasome puts obesity in the danger zone

Cell Metab. 2012 Jan 4;15(1):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.10.011.


Obesity-induced inflammation is an important contributor to the induction of insulin resistance. Recently, the cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) has emerged as a prominent instigator of the proinflammatory response in obesity. Several studies over the last year have subsequently deciphered the molecular mechanisms responsible for IL-1β activation in adipose tissue, liver, and macrophages and demonstrated a central role of the processing enzyme caspase-1 and of the protein complex leading to its activation called the inflammasome. These data suggest that activation of the inflammasome represents a crucial step in the road from obesity to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Caspase 1 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1beta / physiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology


  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Caspase 1