The role of the immune system is to restore functionality in response to stress. Increasing evidence shows that this function is not limited to insults by infection or injury and plays a role in response to overnutrition. Initially, this metabolic activation of the immune system is a physiological response, but it may become deleterious with time. Therefore, therapeutic interventions should aim at modulating the immune system rather than simply damping it. In this article, we describe the physiology and pathology of the immune system during obesity and diabetes with a focus on islet inflammation, the IL-1β pathway, and clinical translation.
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