Assessment of human adipose tissue microvascular function using videomicroscopy

Melissa G. Farb, Song Young Park, Shakun Karki, Noyan Gokce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


While obesity is closely linked to the development of metabolic and cardiovascular disease, little is known about mechanisms that govern these processes. It is hypothesized that pro-atherogenic mediators released from fat tissues particularly in association with central/visceral adiposity may promote pathogenic vascular changes locally and systemically, and the notion that cardiovascular disease may be the consequence of adipose tissue dysfunction continues to evolve. Here, we describe a unique method of videomicroscopy that involves analysis of vasodilator and vasoconstrictor responses of intact small human arterioles removed from the adipose depot of living human subjects. Videomicroscopy is used to examine functional properties of isolated microvessels in response to pharmacological or physiological stimuli using a pressured system that mimics in vivo conditions. The technique is a useful approach to gain understanding of the pathophysiology and molecular mechanisms that contribute to vascular dysfunction locally within the adipose tissue milieu. Moreover, abnormalities in the adipose tissue microvasculature have also been linked with systemic diseases. We applied this technique to examine depot-specific vascular responses in obese subjects. We assessed endothelium-dependent vasodilation to both increased flow and acetylcholine in adipose arterioles (50 - 350 μm internal diameter, 2 - 3 mm in length) isolated from two different adipose depots during bariatric surgery from the same individual. We demonstrated that arterioles from visceral fat exhibit impaired endothelium-dependent vasodilation compared to vessels isolated from the subcutaneous depot. The findings suggest that the visceral microenvironment is associated with vascular endothelial dysfunction which may be relevant to clinical observation linking increased visceral adiposity to systemic disease mechanisms. The videomicroscopy technique can be used to examine vascular phenotypes from different fat depots as well as compare findings across individuals with different degrees of obesity and metabolic dysfunction. The method can also be used to examine vascular responses longitudinally in response to clinical interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere56079
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number127
StatePublished - Sep 29 2017


  • Adipose tissue
  • Endothelium
  • Issue 127
  • Medicine
  • Microvasculature
  • Obesity
  • Physiology
  • Resistance arteries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Assessment of human adipose tissue microvascular function using videomicroscopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this