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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Pediatr. | doi: 10.3389/fped.2019.00487

Pediatric obesity and the immune system

  • 1Department of Women, Children And General and Specialist Surgery, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Italy
  • 2Unit of Pediatrics and Adolescentology, Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Therapy, University of Pavia, Italy
  • 3San Matteo Hospital Foundation (IRCCS), Italy

Obesity has reached pandemic proportion and represents a major risk for several comorbidities. In addition to metabolic and cardiovascular obesity-related diseases, recent evidence suggested that obesity might affect immune system function. Adipose tissue is considered an endocrine organ that actively secretes cytokines also referred as “adipokines”. Adipokines play an important role in the control of human metabolism. The dysfunctional adipose tissue in obese individuals is characterized by an altered cytokines secretion pattern that promotes chronic low-grade inflammation. Epidemiological evidence highlights the association between obesity and allergic and immune-mediated diseases, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, rheumatic arthritis, and psoriasis. Less is known about underlying pathogenic mechanisms. However, several recent in vivo and in vitro studies have reported that adipokines are involved in inflammatory and autoimmune disorders by influencing both innate and acquired immune responses. In addition, obesity has been associated with reduced immune surveillance and increased risk of cancer. This paper reviews the evidence regarding the role of adipokines in immune system regulation, with particular emphasis on autoimmune, allergic and inflammatory disorders. Understanding how obesity affects immune system functions may enable researchers to find new potential therapeutic targets in management of allergic and autoimmune diseases.

Keywords: Obesity, Immune System, Inflammation, Adipokines, Atopy, Autoimmun disease

Received: 28 May 2019; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 UMANO, PISTONE, TONDINA, MOIRAGHI, LAURETTA, MIRAGLIA DEL GIUDICE and BRAMBILLA. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. GIUSEPPINA R. UMANO, Department of Women, Children And General and Specialist Surgery, University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli, Naples, 80138, Campania, Italy,