Vasodilator Dysfunction in Human Obesity: Established and Emerging Mechanisms

J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2021 Dec 1;78(Suppl 6):S40-S52. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000001108.

Abstract

Human obesity is associated with insulin resistance and often results in a number of metabolic abnormalities and cardiovascular complications. Over the past decades, substantial advances in the understanding of the cellular and molecular pathophysiological pathways underlying the obesity-related vascular dysfunction have facilitated better identification of several players participating in this abnormality. However, the complex interplay between the disparate mechanisms involved has not yet been fully elucidated. Moreover, in medical practice, the clinical syndromes stemming from obesity-related vascular dysfunction still carry a substantial burden of morbidity and mortality; thus, early identification and personalized clinical management seem of the essence. Here, we will initially describe the alterations of intravascular homeostatic mechanisms occurring in arteries of obese patients. Then, we will briefly enumerate those recognized causative factors of obesity-related vasodilator dysfunction, such as vascular insulin resistance, lipotoxicity, visceral adipose tissue expansion, and perivascular adipose tissue abnormalities; next, we will discuss in greater detail some emerging pathophysiological mechanisms, including skeletal muscle inflammation, signals from gut microbiome, and the role of extracellular vesicles and microRNAs. Finally, it will touch on some gaps in knowledge, as well as some current acquisitions for specific treatment regimens, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 enhancers and sodium-glucose transporter2 inhibitors, that could arrest or slow the progression of this abnormality full of unwanted consequences.