Adipose Tissue: A Safe Haven for Parasites?

Herbert B. Tanowitz, Philipp E. Scherer, Maria M. Mota, Luisa M. Figueiredo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Adipose tissue (AT) is no longer regarded as an inert lipid storage, but as an important central regulator in energy homeostasis and immunity. Three parasite species are uniquely associated with AT during part of their life cycle: Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease; Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness; and Plasmodium spp., the causative agents of malaria. In AT, T. cruzi resides inside adipocytes, T. brucei is found in the interstitial spaces between adipocytes, while Plasmodium spp. infect red blood cells, which may adhere to the blood vessels supplying AT. Here, we discuss how each parasite species adapts to this tissue environment and what the implications are for pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-284
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Trypanosoma
  • adipocyte
  • adipose tissue
  • fat
  • lipid
  • malaria
  • pathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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