Dynamic interplay between metabolic syndrome and immunity

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014:824:171-90. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-07320-0_13.


Obesity and its co-morbidities as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases are major health problems worldwide. Several reports indicated that nutrient excess and metabolic syndrome are linked with altered immune response. Indeed, metabolic syndrome is characterized by insulin resistance and chronic low-grade inflammation, which conditions are the consequences of the complex interaction between adipocytes and immune cells. Enlarged white adipose tissue is infiltrated by immune cells and secretes various bioactive substances, like adipokines, cytokines and other inflammatory mediators. Due to its special architecture in which metabolic and immune cells are in intimate proximity, metabolic and immunologic pathways are closely integrated in adipose tissue. With the contribution of altered gut microbiota, adipokines and cytokines modulate insulin signaling and immune response leading to adipose tissue inflammation and systemic insulin resistance. In this chapter, we focus on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that lead to impaired insulin sensitivity and chronic low-grade inflammation in obesity. We also detail the potential role of adipokines and immune cells in this deleterious process, and the concerns of vaccination in metabolic syndrome. Finally, we address the links between obesity and gut microbiota as an emerging new field of interest, and scratch the surface of potential therapeutic opportunities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / immunology*
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / immunology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology*
  • Intestines / immunology*
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / immunology*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / pathology


  • Adipokines
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators