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Intern Emerg Med. 2009 Feb;4(1):25-34. doi: 10.1007/s11739-008-0207-2. Epub 2008 Dec 4.

Adipose tissue-mediated inflammation: the missing link between obesity and cardiovascular disease?

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Cardiothoracic Sciences, Second University of Naples, Naples, Italy.


Until relatively recently, the role of adipose tissue in the development of obesity and its consequences was considered to be a passive one. 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. It is now clear that, in addition to storing calories as triglycerides, adipocytes secrete a large variety of cytokines, chemokines and hormone-like factors, such as leptin, resistin, and acute-phase proteins. In addition, insulin resistance, both in nondiabetic and diabetic subjects, is frequently associated with obesity, particularly with an excess of intraabdominal fat. This production of pro-atherogenic substances is of particular interest since an increase in the plasma levels of these mediators may provide a novel mechanistic link between obesity and its vascular complications.

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