Inflammageing and metaflammation: The yin and yang of type 2 diabetes

Francesco Prattichizzo, Valeria De Nigris, Rosangela Spiga, Elettra Mancuso, Lucia La Sala, Roberto Antonicelli, Roberto Testa, Antonio Domenico Procopio, Fabiola Olivieri, Antonio Ceriello

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterised by chronic low-grade inflammation, recently referred to as ‘metaflammation’, a relevant factor contributing to the development of both diabetes and its complications. Nonetheless, ‘canonical’ anti-inflammatory drugs do not yield satisfactory results in terms of prevention of diabetes progression and of cardiovascular events, suggesting that the causal mechanisms fostering metaflammation deserve further research to identify new druggable targets. Metaflammation resembles ageing-induced low-grade inflammation, previously referred to as inflammageing, in terms of clinical presentation and the molecular profile, pointing to a common aetiology for both conditions. Along with the mechanisms proposed to fuel inflammageing, here we dissect a plethora of pathological cascades triggered by gluco- and lipotoxicity, converging on candidate phenomena possibly explaining the enduring pro-inflammatory program observed in diabetic tissues, i.e. persistent immune-system stimulation, accumulation of senescent cells, epigenetic rearrangements, and alterations in microbiota composition. We discuss the possibility of harnessing these recent discoveries in future therapies for T2DM. Moreover, we review recent evidence regarding the ability of diets and physical exercise to modulate selected inflammatory pathways relevant for the diabetic pathology. Finally, we examine the latest findings showing putative anti-inflammatory mechanisms of anti-hyperglycaemic agents with proven efficacy against T2DM-induced cardiovascular complications, in order to gain insights into quickly translatable therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAgeing Research Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Antihyperglycaemic agent
  • Epigenetic alterations
  • Fasting regimen
  • Hyperglycaemic memory
  • Immune system
  • Immunometabolism
  • Inflammageing
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Metaflammation
  • Microbiota
  • microRNA
  • Oxidative stress
  • SASP
  • Senescence
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Ageing
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurology


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