Lamas O, Marti A, Martinez JA. Obesity and immunocompetence. Eur J Clin Nutr 2002 Aug;56 Suppl 3:S42-5.
The increasing worldwide prevalence of obesity is a major health problem since excessive body weight constitutes a risk factor in a number of chronic diseases. It has been reported that obese individuals are more susceptible to infection than lean subjects; however, the underlying factors are not fully understood. Limited and often controversial information exists comparing immunocompetence in obese and nonobese subjects as well as the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved, although much evidence supports a link between adipose tissue metabolism and immunocompetent cell functions. The complexity and heterogeneity of nutritional status and immune system interactions require an integral study of the immunocompetent cells, their subsets and products, as well as specific and non-specific inducer/regulatory systems in situations of human obesity. Additional research is needed to determine the clinical implications of these alterations on immunity and whether various interventions such as weight loss, exercise or nutrient supplementation could help to ameliorate them.