As hypertension develops, the forces exerted by blood pressure are applied to the vessels’ structures inducing pathological changes in the cellular components of the vasculature. These changes are well described in cell populations of the vascular tunicas intima, media, and adventitia. However, there is a gap in our knowledge of hypertension’s impact on adipocytes and their progenitors in the fourth vessel layer, the tunica adiposa or perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT).
Adipocytes are the core cells of PVAT and are a crucial source of vasoactive components that support blood pressure control. The central hypothesis of Project IV is that vascular mechanical forces during hypertension limit the adipogenic capacity of adipocyte progenitors (AP) and enhance their fibrotic responses, leading to PVAT dysfunction.