Role of free fatty acids in endothelial dysfunction

Arijit Ghosh, Lei Gao, Abhimanyu Thakur, Parco M. Siu, Wai Keung Christopher Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

273 Citations (Scopus)


Plasma free fatty acids levels are increased in subjects with obesity and type 2 diabetes, playing detrimental roles in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Increasing evidence showing that dysfunction of the vascular endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels, is the key player in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. In this review, we aimed to summarize the roles and the underlying mechanisms using the evidence collected from clinical and experimental studies about free fatty acid-mediated endothelial dysfunction. Because of the multifaceted roles of plasma free fatty acids in mediating endothelial dysfunction, elevated free fatty acid level is now considered as an important link in the onset of endothelial dysfunction due to metabolic syndromes such as diabetes and obesity. Free fatty acid-mediated endothelial dysfunction involves several mechanisms including impaired insulin signaling and nitric oxide production, oxidative stress, inflammation and the activation of the renin-angiotensin system and apoptosis in the endothelial cells. Therefore, targeting the signaling pathways involved in free fatty acid-induced endothelial dysfunction could serve as a preventive approach to protect against the occurrence of endothelial dysfunction and the subsequent complications such as atherosclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalJournal of Biomedical Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2017


  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Free fatty acids
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Nitric oxide
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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