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Dysregulation of leukocyte trafficking, lipid metabolism, and other metabolic processes are the hallmarks that underpin and drive pathology in obesity. Current clinical management targets alternations in lifestyle choices (e.g. exercise, weight loss) to limit the impact of the disease. Crucially, re-gaining control over the pathogenic cellular and molecular processes may offer an alternative, complementary strategy for obese patients. Here we investigate the impact of the immunopeptide, PEPITEM, on pancreas homeostasis and leukocyte trafficking in mice on high-fed obesogenic diet (HFD). Both prophylactic and therapeutic treatment with PEPITEM alleviated the effects of HFD on the pancreas, reducing pancreatic beta cell size. Moreover, PEPITEM treatment also limited T-cell trafficking (CD4+ T-cells and KLRG1+ CD3+ T-cells) to obese visceral, but not subcutaneous, adipose tissue. Similarly, PEPITEM treatment reduced macrophage numbers within the peritoneal cavity of mice on HFD diet at both 6 and 12 weeks. By contrast, PEPITEM therapy elevated numbers of T and B cells were observed in the secondary lymphoid tissues (e.g. spleen and inguinal lymph node) when compared to the untreated HFD controls. Collectively our data highlights the potential for PEPITEM as a novel therapy to combat the systemic low-grade inflammation experienced in obesity and minimize the impact of obesity on pancreatic homeostasis. Thus, offering an alternative strategy to reduce the risk of developing obesity-related co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, in individuals at high risk and struggling to control their weight through lifestyle modifications.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Exp Immunol

Publication Date





1 - 10


B cells, PEPITEM, T cells, inflammation, obesity, pancreas, Mice, Animals, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Obesity, Inflammation, Diet, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Adipose Tissue