Multiple Adipose Depots Increase Cardiovascular Risk via Local and Systemic Effects
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- Karastergiou, K. & Fried, S.K. Curr Atheroscler Rep (2013) 15: 361. doi:10.1007/s11883-013-0361-5
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Adipose tissue modifies the development of cardiovascular disease in a complex manner: obesity is a major risk factor, especially when accompanied by a central fat distribution. For that reason the characteristics of visceral adipose tissue have attracted most of the research interest thus far, and measurement of waist circumference is now recommended for everyday clinical practice. However, the direct, causative role of visceral fat in cardiometabolic disease remains to be established. Epidemiological and clinical studies show that accumulation of fat subcutaneously, in the gluteofemoral area, is protective against cardiovascular disease, but the exact molecular mechanisms remain unclear. In the last few years, imaging has allowed the study of smaller fat depots that may interact locally with important tissues: epicardial fat with the myocardium, perivascular fat with the vessel wall and the developing atherosclerotic plaque, and renal sinus fat with the renal artery. Unraveling the heterogeneous fat distribution and metabolic phenotypes in human obesity will facilitate optimal assessment of cardiovascular risk in overweight and obese individuals.