Our long-term goal is to understand how macrophages and inflammation contribute to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Recent studies clearly show that obesity, a world wide epidemic, is associated with a chronic state of low grade inflammation and various co-morbidities, including insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and coronary artery disease. Increased adiposity results in infiltration of adipose tissue by macrophages, which elaborate various pro-inflammatory molecules to promote insulin resistance. However, the regulatory factors and transcriptional networks that control resolution of macrophage-mediated inflammation remain poorly understood. Therefore, studies proposed in the present grant application will investigate the functions of Th2 cytokines and macrophage-mediated inflammation in obesity-induced insulin resistance. Notably, our preliminary data show that biasing of the immune response towards the Th2 axis can attenuate tissue inflammation and enhance insulin sensitivity. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms for the anti-diabetic actions of Th2 cytokines, transgenic, whole-body and tissue-specific knockout mice will be evaluated for their susceptibility to diet-induced insulin resistance. Insights derived from these studies should delineate whether skewing of the immune response and polarization of the macrophages towards the Th2 axis is sufficient to ameliorate insulin resistance in obese animals, thereby paving the way for development of new therapeutics to treat this chronic inflammatory disease.
The specific aims of this proposal are to: 1) Determine the role of Th2-type responses in glucose homeostasis, 2) Assess the regulatory role of Th2-type signaling pathways in maintenance of hepatic insulin sensitivity, and 3) Determine whether polarization of macrophages towards the Th2 axis can ameliorate obesity-induced insulin resistance. Relevance: The alarming increase in the rate of obesity has fueled an epidemic of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus in the United States. This life-long disease is destined to have a tremendous negative impact on the health of our society. Thus, our studies are aimed at identifying new therapeutic targets that can improve the action of insulin, and limit or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Integrative Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes Study Section (IPOD)
Program Officer
Margolis, Ronald N
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Francisco
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
Zip Code
Goh, Y P Sharon; Henderson, Neil C; Heredia, Jose E et al. (2013) Eosinophils secrete IL-4 to facilitate liver regeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110:9914-9
Odegaard, Justin I; Chawla, Ajay (2012) Connecting type 1 and type 2 diabetes through innate immunity. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med 2:a007724
Odegaard, Justin I; Chawla, Ajay (2012) Leukocyte set points in metabolic disease. F1000 Biol Rep 4:13
Chawla, Ajay; Nguyen, Khoa D; Goh, Y P Sharon (2011) Macrophage-mediated inflammation in metabolic disease. Nat Rev Immunol 11:738-49
Odegaard, Justin I; Chawla, Ajay (2011) Alternative macrophage activation and metabolism. Annu Rev Pathol 6:275-97
Wu, Davina; Molofsky, Ari B; Liang, Hong-Erh et al. (2011) Eosinophils sustain adipose alternatively activated macrophages associated with glucose homeostasis. Science 332:243-7
Nguyen, Khoa D; Qiu, Yifu; Cui, Xiaojin et al. (2011) Alternatively activated macrophages produce catecholamines to sustain adaptive thermogenesis. Nature 480:104-8
Koroskenyi, Krisztina; Duro, Edina; Pallai, Anna et al. (2011) Involvement of adenosine A2A receptors in engulfment-dependent apoptotic cell suppression of inflammation. J Immunol 186:7144-55
Ricardo-Gonzalez, Roberto R; Red Eagle, Alex; Odegaard, Justin I et al. (2010) IL-4/STAT6 immune axis regulates peripheral nutrient metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107:22617-22
Chawla, Ajay (2010) Control of macrophage activation and function by PPARs. Circ Res 106:1559-69

Showing the most recent 10 out of 13 publications