Immunology and endocrinology of obesity

Kent Willis, Galit Shahaf, David Ochayon, Eli C. Lewis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation. A consistent observation in this pathology includes the accumulation of immune cells within the hypertrophic adipose tissue, thus establishing a relatively new field in medical research, adipoimmunology. An overview of key players in inflammation and immunology, with focus on those that are involved in the obese adipose tissue, is followed by an account of their sources within this pathology, and their role in the evolvement of an inflammatory positive feedback loop. While tissue dysfunction further recruits monocytes that develop into local macrophages, precursor preadipocytes are driven to transdifferentiate into local macrophages. Yet inflammation in obesity is not confined to the adipose tissue. As an endocrine organ, the adipose tissue secretes adipokines that, in an intriguing bridge between metabolic and inflammatory circuits, exert immune-related changes. Insulin resistance is described in this chapter with focus on intracellular events triggered by the inflammatory arm of obesity. The co-morbidities atherosclerosis, asthma and cancer are discussed in the conclusion of the chapter. While still a young field, adipoimmunology has proven to be of mounting importance and embodies aspects that are of relevance to future treatments for obesity and related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationObesity in Pregnancy
Subtitle of host publicationA Comprehensive Guide
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages44
ISBN (Print)9781617286124
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Medicine (all)


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