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Clin Exp Hypertens. 2004 May;26(4):387-98.

Adipose tissue as an endocrine organ? A review of recent data related to cardiovascular complications of endocrine dysfunctions.

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Clinica di Endocrinologia, Istituto di Medicina Clinica, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy.


Clinical and experimental data obtained in the last few years have modified the concept of adipose tissue as one solely directed at energy storage and release. The adipose tissue is a target organ for glucocorticoids and several studies have been carried out on the function of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in obese subjects without conclusive results. A recent and innovative finding is that adipose tissue can produce cortisol from its inactive precursor, cortisone. The identification of leptin, a hormone synthesised by fat tissue, has ushered in the modern view of this tissue as a true endocrine organ. Leptin is produced primarily by subcutaneous and to a lesser extent by visceral adipose tissue, and has a central role in controlling body weight and, especially in regulating fat stores. Leptin is also involved in several complex functions, including physiological processes associated with puberty. Another hormone of fat tissue is angiotensinogen, which is produced in larger amounts by visceral than subcutaneous fat. Human and animals adipose tissue express a whole renin-angiotensin system (RAS). Angiotensin II, the final effector of this system is probably produced locally by adipose tissue. The function of adipose RAS is not well known. RAS can participate together with other hormones and substances, in adipocyte differentiation and fat tissue growth, but could be also involved in the pathogenesis of complications of obesity including arterial hypertension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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