The cellular and signaling networks linking the immune system and metabolism in disease

Nat Med. 2012 Mar 6;18(3):363-74. doi: 10.1038/nm.2627.


It is now recognized that obesity is driving the type 2 diabetes epidemic in Western countries. Obesity-associated chronic tissue inflammation is a key contributing factor to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and a number of studies have clearly demonstrated that the immune system and metabolism are highly integrated. Recent advances in deciphering the various cellular and signaling networks that participate in linking the immune and metabolic systems together have contributed to understanding of the pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and may also inform new therapeutic strategies based on immunomodulation. Here we discuss how these various networks underlie the etiology of the inflammatory component of insulin resistance, with a particular focus on the central roles of macrophages in adipose tissue and liver.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / immunology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Diseases / immunology*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Obesity / complications
  • Signal Transduction