Purpose of review: As traditional risk factors cannot alone explain the high prevalence and incidence of cardiovascular disease in chronic kidney disease, the complex of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, and endothelial dysfunction has increasingly been studied as an important non-traditional risk factor. Recent studies show that the adipose tissue is a complex organ with pleiotropic functions far beyond the mere storage of energy. Fat tissue secretes a number of adipokines including leptin and adiponectin, as well as cytokines, such as resistin, visfatin, tumor-necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6.
Recent findings: Adipokine serum levels are markedly elevated in chronic kidney disease, likely due to a decreased renal excretion. Evidence suggests that these pluripotent signaling molecules may have multiple effects modulating insulin signaling, endothelial health and vascular outcome.
Summary: Fat tissue is a storage depot for energy and a source of circulating signaling molecules. It plays an important role in the catabolic uremic milieu, and has been linked to systemic inflammation and uremic anorexia. Further research is needed to investigate the complex interactions between adipokine signaling networks and its effects on vascular health and outcome in chronic kidney disease.