Journal of Endocrinology

 Mitochondrial oxidative stress in obesity: role of the mineralocorticoid receptor

Obesity is a multifaceted, chronic, low-grade inflammation disease characterized by excess accumulation of dysfunctional adipose tissue. It is often associated with the development of cardiovascular (CV) disorders, insulin resistance and diabetes. Under pathological conditions like in obesity, adipose tissue secretes bioactive molecules called ‘adipokines’, including cytokines, hormones and reactive oxygen species (ROS). There is evidence suggesting that oxidative stress, in particular, the ROS imbalance in adipose tissue, may be the mechanistic link between obesity and its associated CV and metabolic complications. Mitochondria in adipose tissue are an important source of ROS and their dysfunction contributes to the pathogenesis of obesity-related type 2 diabetes. Mitochondrial function is regulated by several factors in order to preserve mitochondria integrity and dynamics. Moreover, the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system is over-activated in obesity. In this review, we focus on the pathophysiological role of the mineralocorticoid receptor in the adipose tissue and its contribution to obesity-associated metabolic and CV complications. More specifically, we discuss whether dysregulation of the mineralocorticoid system within the adipose tissue may be the upstream mechanism and one of the early events in the development of obesity, via induction of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, thus impacting on systemic metabolism and the CV system.