The seminar (22nd Feb 2011) was beautifully delivered by Prof Tony Hegarty who spoke about the importance of perivascular fat (i.e. the fat around blood vessels). Most experiments on isolated blood vessels are done after the fat has been carefully removed. However, recent evidence has suggested that this fat has a powerful anti-contractile effect and should be considered to be part of the vascular wall.
Adipose tissue is an important endocrine organ and secretes a host of adipokines which have an effect on the cardiovascular system. One such adipokine, Adiponectin, has very beneficial properties and is anti-arthrogenic. Unfortunately, in cases of obesity the levels of adiponectin fall thus making the person more susceptible to cardiovascular disease.
Prof Hegarty suggests that stimulation of beta3-adrenoceptors on adipocytes may be cause release of adiponectin. Thus noradrenaline and adrenaline are implicated in the control of adipokine release.
The importance of the link between the adrenergic system and adipose tissue has not been widely studied.
The possible links between adipose tissue, the adrenergic system, diabetes and hypertension are only now becoming clear. Much more research is required though.