, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 13-25
Date: 09 Nov 2013

Immune cells and metabolic dysfunction

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Throughout evolution, effective nutrient sensing and control of systemic energy homeostasis have relied on a close physical and functional interaction between immune and metabolically active cells. However, in today's obesogenic environment, this fine-tuned immunometabolic interface is perturbed. As a consequence, chronic inflammatory conditions and aberrant activation of immune cells have emerged as key features of obesity-related metabolic disorders, including insulin resistance, cardiovascular complications, and type 2 diabetes, whereas a major research focus has been placed on the adipocyte–macrophage interaction in the context of metabolic dysfunction; recent studies have not only expanded the scope of relevant immune cells in this setting but also highlight the impact of distinct metabolic organs, including the liver, on immunometabolic control, metabolic disease development, and potential anti-inflammatory therapeutic options in obesity-driven pathologies. This review will thus summarize recent progress in this emerging area of metabolic research.