Low-grade inflammation is a common feature in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Heart disease, the metabolic syndrome and T2D all have in common the increased concentration of circulatory cytokines as a result of inflammation. Inflammatory cytokines are produced by different cell types and secreted into the circulation, where they regulate different tissues through their local, central and peripheral actions. This review focuses on C-reactive protein (CRP), a well-established marker of the development of inflammation, on tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, an inflammatory marker strongly associated with diabetes, and on adiponectin, a cytokine produced by adipose tissue and associated with insulin sensitivity. While it is clear from the literature that these cytokines play a major role in the development of T2D or, in the case of adiponectin, its prevention, the best strategy for favourably altering the inflammatory response is still a matter of debate.
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