Adipose Tissue Dysfunction: Clinical Relevance and Diagnostic Possibilities

I. M. Schrover, W. Spiering, T. Leiner, F. L J Visseren*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Adipose tissue dysfunction is defined as an imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory adipokines, causing insulin resistance, systemic low-grade inflammation, hypercoagulability, and elevated blood pressure. These can lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus type 2. Although quantity of adipose tissue is an important determinant of adipose tissue dysfunction, it can be diagnosed in both obese and lean individuals. This implies that not only quantity of adipose tissue should be used as a measure for adipose tissue dysfunction. Instead, focus should be on measuring quality of adipose tissue, which can be done with diagnostic modalities ranging from anthropometric measurements to tissue biopsies and advanced imaging techniques. In daily clinical practice, high quantity of visceral adipose tissue (reflected in high waist circumference or adipose tissue imaging), insulin resistance, or presence of the metabolic syndrome are easy and low-cost diagnostic modalities to evaluate presence or absence of adipose tissue dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalHormone and metabolic research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • adipose tissue
  • diagnosis
  • dysfunction
  • metabolic syndrome


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