The heavy impact of obesity on the development and progression of cardiovascular disease has sparked sustained efforts to uncover the mechanisms linking excess adiposity to vascular dysfunction. Impaired vasodilator reactivity has been recognized as an early hemodynamic abnormality in obese patients, but also increased vasoconstrictor tone importantly contributes to their vascular damage. In particular, upregulation of the endothelin (ET)-1 system, consistently reported in these patients, might accelerate atherosclerosis and its complication, given the pro-inflammatory and mitogenic properties of ET-1. In recent years, a number of gut hormones, in addition to their role as modulators of food intake, energy balance, glucose and lipid metabolism, and insulin secretion and action, have demonstrated favorable vascular actions. They increase the bioavailability of vasodilator mediators like nitric oxide, but they have also been shown to inhibit the ET-1 system. These features make gut hormones promising tools for targeting both the metabolic and cardiovascular complications of obesity, a view supported by recent large-scale clinical trials indicating that novel drugs for type 2 diabetes with cardiovascular potential may translate into clinically significant advantages. Therefore, there is real hope that better understanding of the properties of gut-derived substances might provide more effective therapies for the obesity-related cardiometabolic syndrome.
- gut hormones