Sick fat: the good and the bad of old and new circulating markers of adipose tissue inflammation

Published on Nov 1, 2019in Journal of Endocrinological Investigation
· DOI :10.1007/s40618-019-01052-3
Ilaria Barchetta12
Estimated H-index: 12
(Sapienza University of Rome),
Flavia Agata Cimini7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Sapienza University of Rome)
+ 2 AuthorsMaria Gisella Cavallo23
Estimated H-index: 23
(Sapienza University of Rome)
Adipose tissue (AT) is one of the largest endocrine organs contributing to metabolic homeostasis. The functional pleiotropism of AT depends on its ability to secrete a large number of hormones, cytokines, extracellular matrix proteins and growth factors, all influencing many local and systemic physiological and pathophysiological processes. In condition of chronic positive energy balance, adipocyte expansion, hypoxia, apoptosis and stress all lead to AT inflammation and dysfunction, and it has been demonstrated that this sick fat is a main risk factor for many metabolic disorders, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, fatty liver, cardiovascular disease and cancer. AT dysfunction is tightly associated with aberrant secretion of bioactive peptides, the adipocytokines, and their blood concentrations often reflect the expression in the AT. Despite the existence of an association between AT dysfunction and systemic pro-inflammatory state, most of the circulating molecules detectable in obese and dysmetabolic individuals do not identify specifically the condition of sick fat. Based on this premise, this review provides a concise overview of “classic” and novel promising adipocytokines associated with AT inflammation and discusses possible critical approaches to their interpretation in clinical practice.
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