Obesity presents a significant health challenge, affecting 41% of adults and 19.7% of children in the United States. One of the associated health challenges of obesity is chronic low-grade inflammation. In both mice and humans, T cells in circulation and in the adipose tissue play a pivotal role in obesity-associated inflammation. Changes in the numbers and frequency of specific CD4+ Th subsets and their contribution to inflammation through cytokine production indicate declining metabolic health, that is, insulin resistance and T2D. While some Th subset alterations are consistent between mice and humans with obesity, some changes mainly characterize male mice, whereas female mice often resist obesity and inflammation. However, protection from obesity and inflammation is not observed in human females, who can develop obesity-related T-cell inflammation akin to males. The decline in female sex hormones after menopause is also implicated in promoting obesity and inflammation. Age is a second underappreciated factor for defining and regulating obesity-associated inflammation toward translating basic science findings to the clinic. Weight loss in mice and humans, in parallel with these other factors, does not resolve obesity-associated inflammation. Instead, inflammation persists amid modest changes in CD4+ T cell frequencies, highlighting the need for further research into resolving changes in T-cell function after weight loss. How lingering inflammation after weight loss affecting the common struggle to maintain lower weight is unknown. Semaglutide, a newly popular pharmaceutical used for treating T2D and reversing obesity, holds promise for alleviating obesity-associated health complications, yet its impact on T-cell-mediated inflammation remains unexplored. Further work in this area could significantly contribute to the scientific understanding of the impacts of weight loss and sex/hormones in obesity and obesity-associated metabolic decline.

Original languageEnglish
JournalImmunological Reviews
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • aging
  • inflammation
  • regulatory T cells
  • sex differences
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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