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Table 1 The relationship between various depots of fat and cardiovascular diseases

From: Localization of fat depots and cardiovascular risk

Feature SAT Adipose tissue around the visceral organs Ectopic fat
VAT EAT PVAT PNAT Liver Muscles
Location Between the dermis and fascia Adipose tissue around the abdominal visceral organs Visceral fat between the myocardial surface and the visceral layer of the pericardium Adipose tissue around the vessels (coronary arteries) regardless of location Fat around the kidneys Lipid (triglycerides) deposits in non-adipose liver tissue Lipid (triglycerides) deposits in non-adipose muscle tissue
Type of adipose tissue White White White Brown/white Brown
Imaging Modality
 Ultrasonography −/+ + +
 Multidetector computed tomography + + + + + +
 Magnetic resonance imaging + + + + + + +
 Magnetic resonance spectroscopy + +
Factors expressed
 Peroxisomal proliferator + ++   
 Activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) ++ + (obesity)   +/−  
 Uncoupling protein-1 + +
 Uncoupling protein-2 + ++ +  
Secretory activity
 Lipoprotein lipase + +   + + +
 Free fatty acids + ++ (morbid obesity) ++ + + VLDL +
 Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 ++ + + ++ (morbid obesity) +
 Leptin + ++ + ++ (morbid obesity) +
 Resistin    ++ (morbid obesity)
 Angiotensinogen ++ + + +
 Adiponectin ++ + +  
 Tumor necrosis factor-α + + + +
 Interleukin-6 ++ + + ++ (morbid obesity) +
 Interleukin-1β + + + ++ (morbid obesity) +
 Effects Protective production of adiponectin • Gluconeogenesis
• Insulin resistance
• Dyslipidemia
• Systemic inflammation
• Protecting cardiomyocytes from hyperthermia
• Synthesis of adiponectin and adrenomedullin
• Source of energy during ischemia
• Absorption of excess FFA
• Synthesis of inflammation markers
• Associated with myocardial hypertrophy
• Myocardial fibrosis and apoptosis of cardiomyocytes
Vasodilation • Associated with microalbuminuria
• Thermoregulation
• Structural involvement in the regulation of renal vessel tone
• Synthesis of inflammation markers
• Gluconeogenesis
• Insulin resistance
• Dyslipidemia
• Insulin resistance
• Dyslipidemia
  1. SAT subcutaneous adipose tissue, VAT visceral adipose tissue, EAT epicardial adipose tissue, PVAT perivascular adipose tissue, PNAT paranepalic adipose tissue