Oxidative stress in obesity: a critical component in human diseases

Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Dec 26;16(1):378-400. doi: 10.3390/ijms16010378.


Obesity, a social problem worldwide, is characterized by an increase in body weight that results in excessive fat accumulation. Obesity is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and leads to several diseases, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular, fatty liver diseases, and cancer. Growing evidence allows us to understand the critical role of adipose tissue in controlling the physic-pathological mechanisms of obesity and related comorbidities. Recently, adipose tissue, especially in the visceral compartment, has been considered not only as a simple energy depository tissue, but also as an active endocrine organ releasing a variety of biologically active molecules known as adipocytokines or adipokines. Based on the complex interplay between adipokines, obesity is also characterized by chronic low grade inflammation with permanently increased oxidative stress (OS). Over-expression of oxidative stress damages cellular structures together with under-production of anti-oxidant mechanisms, leading to the development of obesity-related complications. The aim of this review is to summarize what is known in the relationship between OS in obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / analysis
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress*


  • Adipokines