Obesity, inflammation, and the gut microbiota

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2015 Mar;3(3):207-15. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(14)70134-2. Epub 2014 Jul 22.


As the prevalence of obesity and associated disease continues to rise and concerns for the spiralling economic and social costs also escalate, innovative management strategies beyond primary prevention and traditional lifestyle interventions are urgently needed. The biological basis of disease is one avenue for further exploration in this context. Several key inflammatory markers have been consistently associated with both obesity and risk of adverse outcomes in obesity-associated diseases, which suggests that a persistent, low-grade, inflammatory response is a potentially modifiable risk factor. In this Review, we provide evidence supporting perturbation of the intestinal microbiota and changes in intestinal permeability as potential triggers of inflammation in obesity. Further characterisation of the mechanisms underpinning the triggers of such inflammatory responses in overweight and obese individuals could offer unique opportunities for intervention strategies to help ameliorate the risk of obesity-associated disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / metabolism
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Microbiota*
  • Models, Biological
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Permeability
  • Prevalence


  • Biomarkers