Immune Cell Activation in Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2022 Sep 22. doi: 10.1007/s11906-022-01222-4. Online ahead of print.


Purpose of review: In this review, we focus on immune cell activation in obesity and cardiovascular disease, highlighting specific immune cell microenvironments present in individuals with atherosclerosis, non-ischemic heart disease, hypertension, and infectious diseases.

Recent findings: Obesity and cardiovascular disease are intimately linked and often characterized by inflammation and a cluster of metabolic complications. Compelling evidence from single-cell analysis suggests that obese adipose tissue is inflammatory and infiltrated by almost all immune cell populations. How this inflammatory tissue state contributes to more systemic conditions such as cardiovascular and infectious disease is less well understood. However, current research suggests that changes in the adipose tissue immune environment impact an individual's ability to combat illnesses such as influenza and SARS-CoV2. Obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent globally and is often associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. An increased inflammatory state is a major contributor to this association. Widespread chronic inflammation in these disease states is accompanied by an increase in both innate and adaptive immune cell activation. Acutely, these immune cell changes are beneficial as they sustain homeostasis as inflammation increases. However, persistent inflammation subsequently damages tissues and organs throughout the body. Future studies aimed at understanding the unique immune cell populations in each tissue compartment impacted by obesity may hold potential for therapeutic applications.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Immunity; Immunometabolism; Infection; Inflammation; Obesity.

Publication types

  • Review