Regulation of vascular smooth muscle tone by adipose-derived contracting factor. Academic Article uri icon


  • Obesity and arterial hypertension, important risk factors for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, are characterized by an increase in vascular tone. While obesity is known to augment vasoconstrictor prostanoid activity in endothelial cells, less is known about factors released from fat tissue surrounding arteries (perivascular adipose). Using lean controls and mice with either monogenic or diet-induced obesity, we set out to determine whether and through which pathways perivascular adipose affects vascular tone. We unexpectedly found that in the aorta of obese mice, perivascular adipose potentiates vascular contractility to serotonin and phenylephrine, indicating activity of a factor generated by perivascular adipose, which we designated "adipose-derived contracting factor" (ADCF). Inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) fully prevented ADCF-mediated contractions, whereas COX-1 or COX-2-selective inhibition was only partially effective. By contrast, inhibition of superoxide anions, NO synthase, or endothelin receptors had no effect on ADCF activity. Perivascular adipose as a source of COX-derived ADCF was further confirmed by detecting increased thromboxane A2 formation from perivascular adipose-replete aortae from obese mice. Taken together, this study identifies perivascular adipose as a novel regulator of arterial vasoconstriction through the release of COX-derived ADCF. Excessive ADCF activity in perivascular fat under obese conditions likely contributes to increased vascular tone by antagonizing vasodilation. ADCF may thus propagate obesity-dependent hypertension and the associated increased risk in coronary artery disease, potentially representing a novel therapeutic target.

publication date

  • 2013