2017 Volume 81 Issue 7 Pages 920-928
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the greatest cause of death, accounting for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide. The increase in obesity rates over 3 decades is widespread and threatens the public health in both developed and developing countries. Obesity, the excessive accumulation of visceral fat, causes the clustering of metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension, culminating in the development of CVD. Adipose tissue is not only an energy storage organ, but an active endocrine tissue producing various biologically active proteins known as adipokines. Since leptin, a central regulator of food intake and energy expenditure, was demonstrated to be an adipose-specific adipokine, attention has focused on the identification and characterization of unknown adipokines to clarify the mechanisms underlying obesity-related disorders. Numerous adipokines have been identified in the past 2 decades; most adipokines are upregulated in the obese state. Adipokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, and resistin are pro-inflammatory, and exacerbate various metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. However, a small number of adipokines, including adiponectin, are decreased by obesity, and generally exhibit antiinflammatory properties and protective functions against obesity-related diseases. Collectively, an imbalance in the production of pro- and antiinflammatory adipokines in the obese condition results in multiple complications. In this review, we focus on the pathophysiologic roles of adipokines with cardiovascular protective properties.