Role of peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the predisposition of obese individuals to inflammation and infection

Dror Dicker, Mahmud Abo Salook, Dana Marcoviciu, Meir Djaldetti, Hanna Bessler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To compare the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from obese but otherwise healthy individuals to that of normal-weight volunteers. Methods: 25 healthy normal-weight subjects and 41 obese individuals were enrolled. Weight and height were measured twice. PBMC were examined for their capacity to generate pro-inflammatory (TNF-, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-2) and anti-inflammatory IL-10 and IL-1ra) cytokines. Results: PBMC from obese individuals, compared to those from subjects with normal weight showed an increased production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-2 (6.7 ± 0.4. vs. 4.9 ± 0.3 ng/ml; p = 0.003), TNF- (505 ± 45 vs. 277 ± 32 pg/ml; p = 0.001), and IFN-γ (93.8 ± 6.0 vs. 73.9 ± 2.7 ng/ml; p = 0.0016). However, PBMC from obese individuals produced a lower amount of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 (651 ±72 pg/ml) versus those from subjects with normal weight (951 ± 133 pg/ml; p = 0.039). Conclusions: The findings imply that obese individuals are in a 'low-grade inflammatory state', presumed to be connected with metabolic and cardiovascular co morbidities. The surplus of pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by circulating mononuclear cells of obese individuals, together with those secreted by adipocytes and non-fat cells in the adipose tissue, may contribute to the predisposition of obese patients to inflammation and infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalObesity Facts
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Cytokines
  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells


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