Obesity and inflammation: The effects of weight loss

L. Kirsty Forsythe, Julie M.W. Wallace, M. Barbara E. Livingstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

201 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Following the discovery of TNF- and leptin as secretory products of adipocytes in the early 1990s, subsequent obesity research focused on the new functional role of adipose tissue, as an active endocrine organ. Many more inflammatory peptides have been linked to adiposity, which ultimately characterised obesity as a state of low-grade systemic inflammation, or metaflammation which may link obesity to its co-morbidities. The aim of the present review is to examine the effects of weight loss on inflammation in overweight and obese, but otherwise healthy, populations. Studies were broadly classified into four types (diet, physical activity, diet and physical activity combined, and surgical interventions) and discussed according to the method used to induce weight loss. All studies measured at least one obesity-related inflammatory marker (ORIM). The overall finding from the present review is that weight loss does improve inflammation in terms of both the inflammatory (C-reactive protein, TNF-, IL-6 and leptin) and anti-inflammatory (adiponectin) ORIM. Within this, the greatest improvements in ORIM are observed in studies achieving a weight loss of at least 10%. However, a number of methodological issues have been identified as potential limitations within the literature including the sex and age of subjects, sample size, study duration and the assessment of body composition. In conclusion, although a period of weight loss per se is capable of reversing the unfavourable inflammatory profile evident in the obese state, further studies are required to determine the time needed, in which a reduced weight is maintained, in order to benefit from improved inflammatory status long term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-133
Number of pages17
JournalNutrition research reviews
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Adipose tissue
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Weight-loss interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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