Effects of bariatric surgery on human small artery function: evidence for reduction in perivascular adipocyte inflammation, and the restoration of normal anticontractile activity despite persistent obesity

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013 Jul 9;62(2):128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2013.04.027. Epub 2013 May 9.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of bariatric surgery on small artery function and the mechanisms underlying this.

Background: In lean healthy humans, perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) exerts an anticontractile effect on adjacent small arteries, but this is lost in obesity-associated conditions such as the metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes where there is evidence of adipocyte inflammation and increased oxidative stress.

Methods: Segments of small subcutaneous artery and perivascular fat were harvested from severely obese individuals before (n = 20) and 6 months after bariatric surgery (n = 15). Small artery contractile function was examined in vitro with wire myography, and perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) morphology was assessed with immunohistochemistry.

Results: The anticontractile activity of PVAT was lost in obese patients before surgery when compared with healthy volunteers and was restored 6 months after bariatric surgery. In vitro protocols with superoxide dismutase and catalase rescued PVAT anticontractile function in tissue from obese individuals before surgery. The improvement in anticontractile function after surgery was accompanied by improvements in insulin sensitivity, serum glycemic indexes, inflammatory cytokines, adipokine profile, and systolic blood pressure together with increased PVAT adiponectin and nitric oxide bioavailability and reduced macrophage infiltration and inflammation. These changes were observed despite the patients remaining severely obese.

Conclusions: Bariatric surgery and its attendant improvements in weight, blood pressure, inflammation, and metabolism collectively reverse the obesity-induced alteration to PVAT anticontractile function. This reversal is attributable to reductions in local adipose inflammation and oxidative stress with improved adiponectin and nitric oxide bioavailability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / pathology*
  • Adipokines / blood
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Arteries / physiology*
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Catalase / pharmacology
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Leptin / blood
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Obesity / surgery
  • Resistin / blood
  • Subcutaneous Tissue / blood supply
  • Superoxide Dismutase / pharmacology
  • Vasoconstriction / physiology*
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents / pharmacology


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cytokines
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Resistin
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Nitric Oxide
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Norepinephrine