Journal of Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 68, Issue 4, pp 701–711 | Cite as

Oxidative stress and inflammation interactions in human obesity

  • Isabel Bondia-Pons
  • Lisa Ryan
  • J. Alfredo MartinezEmail author
Mini Review


Obesity is often characterized by increased oxidative stress and exacerbated inflammatory outcomes accompanying infiltration of immune cells in adipocytes. The oxidative stress machinery and inflammatory signaling are not only interrelated, but their impairment can lead to an inhibition of insulin responses as well as a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and associated features. Mitochondria, in addition to energy transformation, play a role in apoptosis, cellular proliferation, as well as in the cellular redox state control. Under certain circumstances, protons are able to re-enter the mitochondrial matrix via different uncoupling proteins, disturbing free radical production by mitochondria. Disorders of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, over-generation of reactive oxygen species, and lipoperoxides or alterations in antioxidant defenses have been reported in situations of obesity and type-2 diabetes. On the other hand, obesity has been linked to a low grade pro-inflammatory state, in which impairments in the oxidative stress and antioxidant mechanism could be involved. The current scientific evidence highlights the need of investigating the interplay between oxidative stress and inflammation with obesity/diabetes onset as well as the interactions of such factors either as a cause or consequence of obesity. The signaling mediated by the activation of inflammatory markers or nuclear factor kappa β and other transcription factors as central regulators of inflammation are key issues to understanding oxidative stress responses in obesity. This review aims at summarizing the main mechanisms and interplay factors between oxidative stress and inflammation in human obesity according to the last 10 years of research in the field.


Obesity Inflammation Oxidative stress Cytokines Hypoxia 



CIBER and RETICS networks as well as Linea Especial from University of Navarra are gratefully acknowledged. I.B-P is grateful to the Carlos III Health Institute of the Spanish Ministry of Health for her Sara Borrell postdoctoral fellowship.


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Copyright information

© University of Navarra 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabel Bondia-Pons
    • 1
  • Lisa Ryan
    • 2
  • J. Alfredo Martinez
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Food Science, Physiology and Toxicology Research BuildingUniversity of NavarraPamplonaSpain
  2. 2.Functional Food Centre, Department of Sport and Health SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

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