Role of interleukins in obesity: Implications for metabolic disease

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It has been two decades since the discovery that pro-inflammatory cytokines are expressed in obesity. This initial work was the catalyst for the now-accepted paradigm that nutrient overload promotes inflammation and links the metabolic and immune systems, where inflammation may be pathological. However, inflammation is an adaptive and, importantly, an energy-consuming process. Indeed, the rapid mobilization of stored energy reserves by cytokines such as the interleukins, is critical to mounting any successful inflammatory response. Thus, the role of the interleukins in metabolism and energy homeostasis is more complex than first thought and recent evidence is mounting that, for several interleukins, although excess production is negative, blockade or insufficiency is equally undesirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-319
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Beta cell
  • Inflammasome
  • Interleukins
  • Nutrient overload

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