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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2013, Article ID 402053, 8 pages
Review Article

Mechanisms of Perivascular Adipose Tissue Dysfunction in Obesity

1Instituto Pluridisciplinar and Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense, Juan XXIII 1, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Departamento de Ciencias Farmacéuticas y de la Salud, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad CEU-San Pablo, 28660 Madrid, Spain

Received 26 July 2013; Accepted 29 August 2013

Academic Editor: Micaela Iantorno

Copyright © 2013 Maria S. Fernández-Alfonso et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Most blood vessels are surrounded by adipose tissue. Similarly to the adventitia, perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) was considered only as a passive structural support for the vasculature, and it was routinely removed for isolated blood vessel studies. In 1991, Soltis and Cassis demonstrated for the first time that PVAT reduced contractions to noradrenaline in rat aorta. Since then, an important number of adipocyte-derived factors with physiological and pathophysiological paracrine vasoactive effects have been identified. PVAT undergoes structural and functional changes in obesity. During early diet-induced obesity, an adaptative overproduction of vasodilator factors occurs in PVAT, probably aimed at protecting vascular function. However, in established obesity, PVAT loses its anticontractile properties by an increase of contractile, oxidative, and inflammatory factors, leading to endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease. The aim of this review is to focus on PVAT dysfunction mechanisms in obesity.