Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 13–25 | Cite as

Immune cells and metabolic dysfunction

  • Ashley Eheim
  • Dasa Medrikova
  • Stephan HerzigEmail author


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.


Adipose tissue Liver Inflammation Immune cells 



We apologize to our colleagues whose contributions could not be cited due to space limitations. We thank Tatiana Golea for the support with the figure design. Our work is supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the FP7 EU Project “DIABAT”, the German Cancer Aid, the Helmholtz cross program topic “Metabolic Dysfunction”, and the Helmholtz Alliance “ICEMED.”


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Joint Research Division Molecular Metabolic Control, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Center for Molecular Biology (ZMBH) University of Heidelberg, Network Aging ResearchUniversity Hospital HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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