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Cardiovasc Res. 2007 Sep 1;75(4):690-701. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Local adipose tissue depots as cardiovascular risk factors.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Triemli Hospital, Birmensdorferstrasse 497, CH-8063 Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


Obesity is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although obesity-associated hypertension, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance account in part for this association, it becomes increasingly apparent that a systemic and local pro-inflammatory response of adipose tissue might also be a contributing factor. White adipose tissue (WAT) is a highly active organ secreting various peptides such as cytokines, chemokines and hormone-like proteins. Besides the visceral and subcutaneous depots, WAT is also found in the close vicinity of blood vessels (perivascular adipose tissue), where it secretes cytokines such as interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor alpha, pro-atherogenic chemokines, and pro-angiogenic peptides. These factors appear to contribute directly to alterations of the function and structure of the vascular wall, including chronic inflammation, alterations of vascular tone, proliferation of smooth muscle cells, neo-angiogenesis and hence to the development of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular complications.

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