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.
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