The pathophysiology of visceral adipose tissues in cardiometabolic diseases

Mi Jeong Lee, Jeehoon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Central pattern of fat distribution, especially fat accumulation within the intraabdominal cavity increases risks for cardiometabolic diseases. Portal hypothesis combined with a pathological remodeling in visceral fat is considered the major etiological factor explaining the independent contribution of visceral obesity to cardiometabolic diseases. Excessive remodeling in visceral fat during development of obesity leads to dysfunctions in the depot, characterized by hypertrophy and death of adipocytes, hypoxia, inflammation, and fibrosis. Dysfunctional visceral fat secretes elevated levels of fatty acids, glycerol, and proinflammatory and profibrotic cytokines into the portal vein directly impacting the liver, the central regulator of systemic metabolism. These metabolic and endocrine products induce ectopic fat accumulation, insulin resistance, inflammation, and fibrosis in the liver, which in turn causes or exacerbates systemic metabolic derangements. Elucidation of underlying mechanisms that lead to the pathological remodeling and higher degree of dysfunctions in visceral adipose tissue is therefore, critical for the development of therapeutics to prevent deleterious sequelae in obesity. We review depot differences in metabolic and endocrine properties and expendabilities as well as underlying mechanisms that contribute to the pathophysiological aspects of visceral adiposity in cardiometabolic diseases. We also discuss impacts of different weight loss interventions on visceral adiposity and cardiometabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116116
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipokines
  • Adipose expandability
  • Depot-differences
  • Lipolysis
  • Obesity


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