Adipose tissue is a highly active organ. In addition to storing calories as triglycerides, it also secretes a large variety of proteins, including cytokines, chemokines and hormone-like factors, such as leptin, adiponectin and resistin. Intriguingly, many, if not most, of these adipose-derived proteins have dual actions; cytokines have both immunomodulatory functions and act as systemic or auto-/paracrine regulators of metabolism, while proteins such as leptin and adiponectin are regulators of both metabolism and inflammation. The production of pro-atherogenic chemokines by adipose tissue is of particular interest since their local secretion, e.g. by perivascular adipose depots, may provide a novel mechanistic link between obesity and the associated vascular complications.