Adipose tissue-mediated inflammation: the missing link between obesity and cardiovascular disease?
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- Calabrò, P., Golia, E., Maddaloni, V. et al. Intern Emerg Med (2009) 4: 25. doi:10.1007/s11739-008-0207-2
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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.