Studies of immunity typically focus on understanding how hematopoietic cells interact within conventional secondary lymphoid tissues. However, immune reactions and their regulation occur in various environments within the body. Adipose tissue is one tissue that can influence and be influenced by adjacent and embedded lymphocytes. Despite the abundance and wide distribution of such tissue, and despite a growing obesity epidemic, studies of these interactions have been only marginally appreciated in the past. Here, we review advances in understanding of lymphoid structures within adipose tissue, the relationship between adipose tissue and adaptive immune function, and evidence for how this relationship contributes to obesity-associated diseases. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.