Perivascular adipose Tissue – PVAT. What are PVAT and the connection between atherosclerosis? I was reading an article that caught my attention.
Atherosclerosis, as we know, causes the build-up of cholesterol inside the artery and then further builds up plaque due to calcium deposit. The blockage of these arteries leads to vessel blockage and subsequent cardiac issues. Stent, angioplasty or Bypass may be done. Okay, we know all of this.
The biggest question was – What was causing the artery cracking or breakage! What was causing the artery to harden and lose its flexibility? That article and subsequent concept on the medical research papers show some light on the same.
The artery is made of 4 layers (Tunica intima, Tunica media, Tunica adventitia) and Tunica adiposa. Until now, the fourth layer was Tunica adiposa was not considered so important.
So what is new now? It is observed that the fourth layer tunica adiposa secretes substances that cause the arteries to relax and contract. Flexibility is being provided to the artery!
Okay, what is the big deal? If you recall, cracks or ruptures appear on the inner layer of the artery causing due to hardness or stiffness of the artery. To fill in the rupture or crack, cholesterol comes to the aid to fill in the endothelial lining. So, it appears that cholesterol was never a bad fellow.
Now, the question is, where does the adiposa come from. The body produces the adiposa (fat) to keep the arteries from becoming stiff and allow compression and contraction. Where does the fat come from? Well, it is now obvious that fat comes from dietary fat as a Nutrient.
So fat as a Macronutrient is used thru lipid metabolism for maintenance of flexibility of the arteries that is desired. All the perils of ignoring FAT from our diet.