Insulin sensitivity and metabolic homeostasis depend on the capacity of adipose tissue to take up and utilize excess glucose and fatty acids. The key aspects that determine the fuel-buffering capacity of adipose tissue depend on the physiological levels of the small redox molecule, nitric oxide (NO). In addition to impairment of NO synthesis, excessive formation of the superoxide anion (О2 •–) in adipose tissue may be an important interfering factor diverting the signalling of NO and other reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in obesity, resulting in metabolic dysfunction of adipose tissue over time. Besides its role in relief from superoxide burst, enhanced NO signalling may be responsible for the therapeutic benefits of different superoxide dismutase mimetics, in obesity and experimental diabetes models. This review summarizes the role of NO in adipose tissue and highlights the effects of NO/О2 •– ratio ‘teetering’ as a promising pharmacological target in the metabolic syndrome. Linked Articles: This article is part of a themed section on Redox Biology and Oxidative Stress in Health and Disease. To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v174.12/issuetoc.
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