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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug;23(8):407-15. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2012.05.011. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Adipose tissue-resident immune cells: key players in immunometabolism.

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  • 1Department of Pediatric Immunology and Infectious Diseases, University Medical Center Utrecht and Center for Molecular and Cellular Intervention, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Adipose tissue (AT) plays a pivotal role in whole-body lipid and glucose homeostasis. AT exerts metabolic control through various immunological mechanisms that instigated a new research field termed immunometabolism. Here, we review AT-resident immune cells and their role as key players in immunometabolism. In lean subjects, AT-resident immune cells have housekeeping functions ranging from apoptotic cell clearance to extracellular matrix remodeling and angiogenesis. However, obesity provides bacterial and metabolic danger signals that mimic bacterial infection, and drives a shift in immune-cell phenotypes and numbers, classified as a prototypic T helper 1 (Th1) inflammatory response. The resulting AT inflammation and insulin resistance link obesity to its metabolic sequel, and suggests that targeted immunomodulatory interventions may be beneficial for obese patients.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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