Metabolic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Obesity

Circ Res. 2020 May 22;126(11):1549-1564. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.119.315896. Epub 2020 May 21.


Obesity is becoming an epidemic in the United States and worldwide and increases risk for many diseases, particularly insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms linking obesity with these diseases remain incompletely understood. Over the past 2 to 3 decades, it has been recognized that in obesity, inflammation, with increased accumulation and inflammatory polarization of immune cells, takes place in various tissues, including adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, liver, gut, pancreatic islet, and brain and may contribute to obesity-linked metabolic dysfunctions, leading to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Therapies targeting inflammation have shed light on certain obesity-linked diseases, including type 2 diabetes mellitus and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, but remain to be tested further and confirmed in clinical trials. This review focuses on inflammation in adipose tissue and its potential role in insulin resistance associated with obesity.

Keywords: adipose tissue; diabetes mellitus; inflammation; insulin resistance; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cytokines