Visceral or central obesity is characterized by an excess of abdominal fat, and is correlated with risk of cardiovascular disease and other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia. Central obesity is measured by the waist circumference and is considered to be a stronger predictor of death risk than body mass index. Increases in blood cytokine and chemokine levels are associated with central obesity and is an indication that chronic inflammation is associated with the condition.
Preterm labor is a major cause of and infant mortality and long-term medical complications in offspring. Premature activation of the maternal immune system may stimulate cervical dilatation and activation of the uterine smooth muscle, leading to preterm delivery. Normal labor involves an increase in the expression of uterine-derived pro-inﬂammatory cytokines and chemokines that activate maternal peripheral leukocytes. Leukocytes then increase within the uterus and stimulate the cervical and uterine conditions that lead to delivery of the baby. Better characterization of these biochemical and cellular events may provide information that can be used to screen or predict the risk of preterm labor.
Macrophages are formed from peripheral blood precursors called monocytes. They are the first line of defense against invading disease-causing organisms. Macrophages attack invaders by a process of phagocytosis (engulfment and breakdown of particles). They can also help initiate immune responses by T lymphocytes.
Dendritic cells are an important component of the immune system. These cells are responsible for priming T cells for attack on antigens (disease causing agents). They are antigen-presenting cells; that is, they process and prepare the antigens for recognition and action by T cells. Results of studies using primary blood dendritic cells show that they have promise in cancer immunotherapy.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) are peripheral blood cells containing a round nucleus. Examples of these types of cells include the various types of lymphocytes (including T cells) and monocytes. These are different from other blood cells that contain multi-lobed nuclei (e.g., neutrophils and eosinophils) and those that have no nucleus such as platelets and red blood cells (erythrocytes).