Mechanisms of coronary microvascular adaptation to obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in individuals that may greatly increase their risk of developing coronary artery disease. Obesity and related metabolic dysfunction are the driving forces in the prevalence of MetS. It is believed that obesity has detrimental effects on cardiovascular function, but its overall impact on the vasomotor regulation of small coronary arteries is still debated. Emerging evidence indicates that in obesity coronary arteries adapt to hemodynamic changes via maintaining and/or upregulating cellular mechanism(s) intrinsic to the vascular wall. Among other factors, endothelial production of cyclooxygenase-2-derived prostacyclin and reactive oxygen species, as well as increased nitric oxide sensitivity and potassium channel activation in smooth muscle cells, have been implicated in maintaining coronary vasodilator function. This review aims to examine studies that have been primarily focused on alterations in coronary vasodilator function in obesity. A better understanding of cellular mechanisms that may contribute to coronary microvascular adaptation may provide insight into the sequence of pathological events in obesity and may allow the harnessing of these effects for therapeutic purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R556-R567
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipokines
  • Arteriole
  • Cyclooxygenase-2
  • HO
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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