Role of adipocytokines on the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in visceral obesity

Intern Med. 1999 Feb;38(2):202-6. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.38.202.


Obesity which is defined as accumulation of excess body fat, is a major cause of atherosclerotic vascular disease in industrial countries. Recent advances in the biology of adipose tissue have revealed that adipose tissue is not simply an energy storage organ but it also secretes a variety of molecules which affect the metabolism of the whole body. Through a systematic search of active genes in adipose tissue, we found that adipose tissue, especially visceral fat expressed numerous genes for secretory proteins (about 30% of total genes analyzed). Among them, plasminogen activator-1 (PAI-1), which is a regulator of the fibrinolytic system, was overexpressed in the visceral fat in an animal model of obesity. Plasma levels of PAI-1 were closely correlated with visceral fat adiposity. Thus, PAI-1 secreted from visceral fat may play some role in thrombotic vascular disease in visceral obesity. Adiponectin, a novel adipose-specific gene product, which has a matrix-like structure, is abundantly present in the bloodstream. Dysregulated secretion of adiponectin may be related to vascular disease in obesity. Biologically active molecules secreted from adipose tissue (adipocytokines) may have important roles in the development of atherosclerotic disease in obesity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Arteriosclerosis / etiology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / metabolism
  • Collagen / genetics
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • DNA / analysis
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Viscera


  • Adiponectin
  • Cytokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Collagen
  • DNA