Trained Immunity: Linking Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease across the Life-Course?

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2020 May;31(5):378-389. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2020.01.008. Epub 2020 Feb 8.


Obesity, a chronic inflammatory disease, is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms underlying inflammation in obesity are incompletely understood. Recent developments have challenged the dogma of immunological memory occurring exclusively in the adaptive immune system and show that the innate immune system has potential to be reprogrammed. This innate immune memory (trained immunity) is characterized by epigenetic and metabolic reprogramming of myeloid cells following endogenous or exogenous stimulation, resulting in enhanced inflammation to subsequent stimuli. Trained immunity phenotypes have now been reported for other immune and non-immune cells. Here, we provide a novel perspective on the putative role of trained immunity in mediating the adverse cardiovascular effects of obesity and highlight potential translational pathways.

Keywords: atherosclerosis; cardiovascular disease; inflammation; obesity; trained immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / immunology*
  • Adipose Tissue / immunology*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / immunology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / immunology*
  • Obesity / metabolism