INTRODUCTION: Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) surrounds most vessels in the human body. Healthy PVAT has a vasorelaxant effect which is not observed in obesity. We assessed the contribution of nitric oxide (NO), inflammation and endothelium to obesity-induced PVAT damage.
METHODS: Rats were fed a high-fat diet or normal chow. PVAT function was assessed using wire myography. Skeletonised and PVAT-intact mesenteric vessels were prepared with and without endothelium. Vessels were incubated with L-NNA or superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. Gluteal fat biopsies were performed on 10 obese and 10 control individuals, and adipose tissue was assessed using proteomic analysis.
RESULTS: In the animals, there were significant correlations between weight and blood pressure (BP; r = 0.5, p = 0.02), weight and PVAT function (r = 0.51, p = 0.02), and PVAT function and BP (r = 0.53, p = 0.01). PVAT-intact vessel segments from healthy animals constricted significantly less than segments from obese animals (p < 0.05). In a healthy state, there was preservation of the PVAT vasorelaxant function after endothelium removal (p < 0.05). In endothelium-denuded vessels, L-NNA attenuated the PVAT vasorelaxant function in control vessels (p < 0.0001). In obesity, incubation with SOD and catalase attenuated PVAT-intact vessel contractility in the presence and absence of endothelium (p < 0.001). In obese humans, SOD [Cu-Zn] (SOD1; fold change -2.4), peroxiredoxin-1 (fold change -2.15) and adiponectin (fold change -2.1) were present in lower abundances than in healthy controls.
CONCLUSIONS: Incubation with SOD and catalase restores PVAT vasorelaxant function in animal obesity. In the rodent model, obesity-induced PVAT damage is independent of endothelium and is in part due to reduced NO bioavailability within PVAT. Loss of PVAT function correlates with rising BP in our animal obesity model. In keeping with our hypothesis of inflammation-induced damage to PVAT function in obesity, there are lower levels of SOD1, peroxiredoxin-1 and adiponectin in obese human PVAT.