Adipose vascular endothelial growth factor regulates metabolic homeostasis through angiogenesis

Cell Metab. 2013 Jan 8;17(1):61-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2012.12.010.


Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF) is highly expressed in adipose tissue. Its role, however, has not been fully elucidated. Here, we reveal the metabolic role of adipose-VEGF by studying mice with deletion (VEGF(AdΔ)) or doxycycline-inducible overexpression of a VEGF transgene (VEGF(AdTg)) in the adipose tissue. VEGF(AdΔ) mice have reduced adipose vascular density and show adipose hypoxia, apoptosis, inflammation, and metabolic defects on a high-fat diet. In contrast, induction of VEGF expression in VEGF(AdTg) mice leads to increased adipose vasculature and reduced hypoxia. The latter changes are sufficient to counteract an established compromising effect of high-fat diet on the metabolism, indicating that metabolic misbalance is reversible by adipose vessel density increase. Our data clearly show the essential role of VEGF signaling for adequate adipose function. Besides revealing insights into the molecular mechanisms of obesity-related metabolic diseases, this study points to the therapeutic potential of increased adipose angiogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / blood supply
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Glucose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Glucose Intolerance / pathology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Animal
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / metabolism*


  • Adipokines
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Doxycycline