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The perception of adipose tissue as a metabolically quiescent tissue, primarily responsible for lipid storage and energy balance (with some endocrine, thermogenic, and insulation functions), has changed. It is now accepted that adipose tissue is a crucial regulator of metabolic health, maintaining bidirectional communication with other organs including the cardiovascular system. Additionally, adipose tissue depots are functionally and morphologically heterogeneous, acting not only as sources of bioactive molecules that regulate the physiological functioning of the vasculature and myocardium but also as biosensors of the paracrine and endocrine signals arising from these tissues. In this way, adipose tissue undergoes phenotypic switching in response to vascular and/or myocardial signals (proinflammatory, profibrotic, prolipolytic), a process that novel imaging technologies are able to visualize and quantify with implications for clinical prognosis. Furthermore, a range of therapeutic modalities have emerged targeting adipose tissue metabolism and altering its secretome, potentially benefiting those at risk of cardiovascular disease. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Physiology, Volume 86 is February 2024. Please see for revised estimates.

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Journal article


Annu Rev Physiol

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