The possible role of antimicrobial proteins in obesity-associated immunologic alterations

Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2014 Jul;10(7):855-66. doi: 10.1586/1744666X.2014.911088. Epub 2014 Apr 23.


Currently, obesity-associated metabolic disturbances are envisioned as chronic inflammatory processes, characterized by activation of both innate and adaptive immunity. Although the features of chronic inflammation in obese subjects are clearly defined, the signals and mechanisms that trigger chronic inflammation are not well understood. Recent studies suggest an imbalance in circulating antimicrobial proteins as a possible cause of obesity-associated metabolic disturbances and insulin resistance. This imbalance promotes a relative failure in the capacity of buffering external insults and might cause the onset of chronic inflammation and immunologic alterations in obesity. Here, we review the current literature on the possible role of circulating antimicrobial proteins in obesity-associated immunologic alterations.

Keywords: adipose tissue; antimicrobial proteins; chronic inflammation; innate immunity; metabolic endotoxemia; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / blood
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / complications*
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Lactoferrin / blood
  • Lipocalins / blood
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / immunology*


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Lipocalins
  • Lactoferrin