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Arteriolar function in visceral adipose tissue is impaired in human obesity. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2012 Feb;32(2):467-73



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-84856230498   73 Citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to characterize the relationship between adipose tissue phenotype and depot-specific microvascular function in fat.

METHODS AND RESULTS: In 30 obese subjects (age 42±11 years, body mass index 46±11 kg/m(2)) undergoing bariatric surgery, we intraoperatively collected visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue and characterized depot-specific adipose phenotypes. We assessed vasomotor function of the adipose microvasculature using videomicroscopy of small arterioles (75-250 μm) isolated from different fat compartments. Endothelium-dependent, acetylcholine-mediated vasodilation was severely impaired in visceral arterioles, compared to the subcutaneous depot (P<0.001 by ANOVA). Nonendothelium dependent responses to papaverine and nitroprusside were similar. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibition with N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester reduced subcutaneous vasodilation but had no effect on severely blunted visceral arteriolar responses. Visceral fat exhibited greater expression of proinflammatory, oxidative stress-related, hypoxia-induced, and proangiogenic genes; increased activated macrophage populations; and had a higher capacity for cytokine production ex vivo.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings provide clinical evidence that the visceral microenvironment may be intrinsically toxic to arterial health providing a potential mechanism by which visceral adiposity burden is linked to atherosclerotic vascular disease. Our findings also support the evolving concept that both adipose tissue quality and quantity may play significant roles in shaping cardiovascular phenotypes in human obesity.

Author List

Farb MG, Ganley-Leal L, Mott M, Liang Y, Ercan B, Widlansky ME, Bigornia SJ, Fiscale AJ, Apovian CM, Carmine B, Hess DT, Vita JA, Gokce N


Michael E. Widlansky MD Associate Director, Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Bariatric Surgery
Endothelium, Vascular
Intra-Abdominal Fat
Middle Aged
Subcutaneous Fat
Vasodilator Agents
Vasomotor System