Trained Immunity: Linking Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease across the Life-Course?

Siroon Bekkering, Christoph Saner, Niels P. Riksen, Mihai G. Netea, Matthew A. Sabin, Richard Saffery, Rinke Stienstra, David P. Burgner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity, a chronic inflammatory disease, is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms underlying inflammation in obesity are incompletely understood. Recent developments have challenged the dogma of immunological memory occurring exclusively in the adaptive immune system and show that the innate immune system has potential to be reprogrammed. This innate immune memory (trained immunity) is characterized by epigenetic and metabolic reprogramming of myeloid cells following endogenous or exogenous stimulation, resulting in enhanced inflammation to subsequent stimuli. Trained immunity phenotypes have now been reported for other immune and non-immune cells. Here, we provide a novel perspective on the putative role of trained immunity in mediating the adverse cardiovascular effects of obesity and highlight potential translational pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-389
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular disease
  • inflammation
  • obesity
  • trained immunity


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