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Atherosclerosis. 2013 Oct;230(2):177-84. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.07.037. Epub 2013 Jul 27.

Perivascular adipose tissue in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease.

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Division of Cardiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Adipose tissue, which has been considered mainly as a site of energy storage and mobilization, is found in many depots throughout the body. Adipose depots may have structural properties such as, for instance, the fat pads located in the hands and feet and the periorbital fat supporting the eyes. Adipose tissue also shows remarkable regional heterogeneity. For instance, substantial differences have been reported in the metabolic properties of visceral (intra-abdominal) vs. subcutaneous adipose depots. Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) has active endocrine and paracrine functions with the secretion of various pro-inflammatory chemokines potentially contributing to the progression of atherosclerosis related with obesity. In addition, adipose depots surrounding the heart, such as epicardial (EAT) and perivascular adipose tissues (PAT) may also exert important roles in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease beyond the contribution of VAT due to their close anatomic relationships with vascular structures and myocardium. The purpose of the present review is to outline the current understanding of the pathophysiological links between EAT, PAT and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Also, we discuss the current investigative methods for PAT quantification and discuss the potential impact of PAT on cardiovascular risk prediction. Finally, potential clinical implications of these notions are discussed.


Cardiovascular disease; Perivascular adipose tissue; Risk factor

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