Exploring the Crosstalk between Adipose Tissue and the Cardiovascular System.
Akoumianakis I., Akawi N., Antoniades C.
Obesity is a clinical entity critically involved in the development and progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is characterised by variable expansion of adipose tissue (AT) mass across the body as well as by phenotypic alterations in AT. AT is able to secrete a diverse spectrum of biologically active substances called adipocytokines, which reach the cardiovascular system via both endocrine and paracrine routes, potentially regulating a variety of physiological and pathophysiological responses in the vasculature and heart. Such responses include regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress as well as cell proliferation, migration and hypertrophy. Furthermore, clinical observations such as the "obesity paradox," namely the fact that moderately obese patients with CVD have favourable clinical outcome, strongly indicate that the biological "quality" of AT may be far more crucial than its overall mass in the regulation of CVD pathogenesis. In this work, we describe the anatomical and biological diversity of AT in health and metabolic disease; we next explore its association with CVD and, importantly, novel evidence for its dynamic crosstalk with the cardiovascular system, which could regulate CVD pathogenesis.