Unwrapping the mechanisms of ceramide and fatty acid-initiated signals leading to immune-inflammatory responses in obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Salih Kucuk
  • Dolores Camacho-muñoz
  • Anna Nicolaou

External organisations

  • Manchester Pharmacy School


Obesity is considered a global epidemic developed in part as a consequence of the overconsumption of high fat diets. One of the main negative outcomes of obesity is the development of low-grade chronic systemic inflammation, induced by dysregulated immune responses, which can lead to multiple obesity-related diseases. Ceramides are a group of bioactive lipids known to be elevated in obesity and obesity-associated conditions, including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes. Ceramides may be key players in promoting an obesity–induced inflammatory environment due to their ability to activate key pathways such as Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and NLR pyrin domain containing receptor 3 (Nlrp3), while studies have shown that inhibition of ceramide synthesis gives rise to an anti-inflammatory environment. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) have been of interest due to their anti-inflammatory actions and shown to have beneficial effects in obesity-related diseases. This review will highlight the impact of ceramides in promoting an obesity-induced inflammatory microenvironment and discuss how n-3 PUFA could potentially counteract these responses and have a regulatory effect promoting immune homeostasis.


Original languageEnglish
Article number105972
Number of pages10
JournalThe International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Early online date14 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Ceramides, Obesity, Inflammation, Fatty acids, N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids