Expansion of adipose tissue mass, predominantly in the visceral depot, strongly associates with the development of metabolic complications that are often observed in obesity. In addition, in obesity, an increased prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and reduced cardiorespiratory fitness are observed. However, not all obese individuals develop metabolic abnormalities. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that predispose obese humans to the development of metabolic diseases, comparing the metabolically healthy obese (MHO) vs an unhealthy obese phenotype (MUO) may be of great value. A new study by Esser et al (DOI:10.1007/s00125-013-3023-9) now provides important evidence that the MHO phenotype is associated with a lower activation of the NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing-3 (NLPR3) inflammasome in macrophages of visceral adipose tissue and a more favourable inflammatory profile as compared with the MUO phenotype. This finding could promote novel studies in humans to decipher stimuli and mechanisms leading to increased inflammasome activity, not only in adipose tissue, but also in other organs that are involved in the regulation of metabolism.
- induced insulin-resistance
Stienstra, R., & Stefan, N. (2013). Tipping the inflammatory balance: inflammasome activation distinguishes metabolically unhealthy from healthy obesity. Diabetologia, 56(11), 2343-2346. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-013-3040-8