Excess visceral adipose tissue is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, lipid disorders, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Adipose tissue is an endocrine organ with multiple humoral and metabolic roles in regulating whole-body physiology. However, perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) also plays a functional role in regulating the contractile state of the underlying smooth muscle cell layer. Work during the past decade has shown that this adipose-vascular coupling is achieved by production of numerous substances released from PVAT. Animal disease models have been instrumental in identifying biological and pathophysiological functions of this regulation. These studies have produced strong evidence that alterations in the paracrine control of PVAT in the regulation of arterial tone contribute to vascular dysfunction in obesity, hypertension, and cardiometabolic disease. Perivascular relaxing factors, or perhaps their putative targets, might represent exciting new targets for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.


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