Macrophage fatty acid oxidation and its roles in macrophage polarization and fatty acid-induced inflammation

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Nov;1861(11):1796-1807. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2016.09.002. Epub 2016 Sep 7.


Recent research considerably changed our knowledge how cellular metabolism affects the immune system. We appreciate that metabolism not only provides energy to immune cells, but also actively influences diverse immune cell phenotypes. Fatty acid metabolism, particularly mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) emerges as an important regulator of innate and adaptive immunity. Catabolism of fatty acids also modulates the progression of disease, such as the development of obesity-driven insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Here, we summarize (i) recent developments in research how FAO modulates inflammatory signatures in macrophages in response to saturated fatty acids, and (ii) the role of FAO in regulating anti-inflammatory macrophage polarization. In addition, we define the contribution of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), in controlling macrophage biology towards fatty acid metabolism and inflammation.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; Fatty acid oxidation; Fatty acids; Inflammation; Macrophages; Metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Fatty Acids