Minireview: Adiposity, Inflammation, and Atherogenesis

Lyon CJ, Law RE, Hsueh WA 

Adipose tissue is a dynamic endocrine organ that secretes a number of factors that are increasingly recognized to contribute to systemic and vascular inflammation. Several of these factors, collectively referred to as adipokines, have now been shown to regulate, directly or indirectly, a number of the processes that contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, including hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, and vascular remodeling. Several adipokines are preferentially expressed in visceral adipose tissue, and the secretion of proinflammatory adipokines is elevated with increasing adiposity. Not surprisingly, approaches that reduce adipose tissue deposits, including surgical fat removal, exercise, and reduced caloric intake, improve proinflammatory adipokine levels and reduce the severity of their resultant pathologies. Systemic adipokine levels can also be favorably altered by treatment with several of the existing drug classes used to treat insulin resistance, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. Greater understanding of adipokine regulation, however, should result in the design of improved treatment strategies to control disease states associated with increased adiposity, an important outcome in view of the growing worldwide epidemic of obesity. 


Lyon CJ, Law RE, Hsueh WA. Minireview: Adiposity, Inflammation, and Atherogenesis. Endocrinology. 2003;144:2195-2200. 

Last Modified: 2/8/2013