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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to influence adipose tissue function

Jan Westerink and Frank LJ Visseren*

Author Affiliations

1Department of Vascular Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2011, 10:13  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-10-13

Published: 28 January 2011

Abstract

Obesity is associated with metabolic derangements such as insulin resistance, inflammation and hypercoagulobility which can all be understood as consequences of adipose tissue dysfunction. The potential role for adipose tissue derived cytokines and adipokines in the development of vascular disease and diabetes may produce a clinical need to influence adipose tissue function. Various pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions affect plasma cytokine and adipokine levels. The effects of these interventions depend on weight loss per se, changes in fat distribution without weight loss and/or direct effects on adipose tissue inflammation.

Weight loss, as a result of diet, pharmacology and surgery, positively influences plasma adipokines and systemic inflammation. Several classes of drugs influence systemic inflammation directly through their anti-inflammatory actions. PPAR-γ agonism positively influences adipose tissue inflammation in several classes of intervention such as the thiazolidinediones and perhaps salicylates, CB1-antagonists and angiotensin II receptor blockers. Furthermore, within drug classes there are differential effects of individual pharmacologic agents on adipose tissue function.

It can be concluded that several commonly used pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions have unintended influences on adipose tissue function. Improving adipose tissue function may contribute to reducing the risk of vascular diseases and the development of type 2 diabetes.