There are currently over 1.9 billion people who are obese or overweight, leading to a rise in related health complications, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, and neurodegeneration. The finding that obesity and metabolic disorder are accompanied by chronic low-grade inflammation has fundamentally changed our view of the underlying causes and progression of obesity and metabolic syndrome. We now know that an inflammatory program is activated early in adipose expansion and during chronic obesity, permanently skewing the immune system to a proinflammatory phenotype, and we are beginning to delineate the reciprocal influence of obesity and inflammation. Reviews in this series examine the activation of the innate and adaptive immune system in obesity; inflammation within diabetic islets, brain, liver, gut, and muscle; the role of inflammation in fibrosis and angiogenesis; the factors that contribute to the initiation of inflammation; and therapeutic approaches to modulate inflammation in the context of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
Alan R. Saltiel, Jerrold M. Olefsky
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