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Circ Res. 2005 May 13;96(9):939-49.

Adipose tissue, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease.

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Department of Cell Biology, Bronx, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Mounting evidence highlights the role of adipose tissue in the development of a systemic inflammatory state that contributes to obesity-associated vasculopathy and cardiovascular risk. Circulating mediators of inflammation participate in the mechanisms of vascular insult and atheromatous change, and many of these inflammatory proteins are secreted directly from adipocytes and adipose tissue-derived macrophages. Several factors linking obesity with an increased cardiovascular risk have been identified. The adipocyte-specific secretory protein adiponectin is a particularly promising candidate in this context. Its levels are decreased in obesity. Adiponectin may mediate some of its demonstrated cardioprotective effects through its anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to decreased expression of beneficial adipokines, secretion of a host of inflammatory factors from visceral adipose tissue may contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk associated with obesity. The cardioprotective effects of many of the most popular drug regimens corroborate these conclusions, demonstrating that along with improvements in other therapeutic end points, they mediate improvements in systemic inflammation. In some cases, these improvements are attributable to direct suppression of inflammatory signaling in adipocytes. The targeted suppression of various proinflammatory cascades in adipocytes specifically represents an exciting new therapeutic opportunity for the cardiovascular disease area.

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