Obesity is associated with the metabolic syndrome, a significant risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Chronic low-grade inflammation occurring in the adipose tissue of obese individuals is causally linked to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Although the exact trigger of this inflammatory process is unknown, adipose tissue hypoxia, endoplasmic reticular stress, and saturated fatty acid-mediated activation of innate immune processes have been identified as important processes in these disorders.

Furthermore, macrophages and T lymphocytes have important roles in orchestrating this immune process. Although energy restriction leading to weight loss is the primary dietary intervention to reverse these obesity-associated metabolic disorders, other interventions targeted at alleviating adipose tissue inflammation have not been explored in detail.

In this regard, (n-3) PUFA of marine origin both prevent and reverse high-fat-diet-induced adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in rodents.

We provide an update on the pathogenesis of adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity and discuss potential mechanisms by which (n-3) PUFA prevent and reverse these changes and the implications in human health.