Cardiovascular risk and adrenergic overdrive in the metabolic syndrome

Guido Grassi, Fosca Quarti-Trevano, Gino Seravalle, Raffaella Dell'Oro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: This paper will review the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome as well as its importance as target of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment. Data synthesis: Several indices of adrenergic drive, such as plasma norepinephrine, norepinephrine spillover from adrenergic nerve terminals and efferent postganglionic muscle sympathetic nerve traffic, have all shown an increase in the different conditions clustering in metabolic syndrome, such as obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance state. This increase: 1) appears to be potentiated in the metabolic syndrome; and 2) contributes to a large extent at the cardiovascular structural and functional alterations typical of the disease. Based on this evidence, non-pharmacologic life-style interventions as well as drug treatment procedures used in the therapeutic approach to the metabolic syndrome should be aimed at exerting not only favourable haemodynamic and metabolic effects but also pronounced sympathoinhibition. Conclusion: The data reviewed in this paper strongly support the relevance of the sympathetic nervous system in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome and the importance of the sympathomodulation as a specific aim of therapeutic intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-481
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • Central sympatholytic drugs
  • Insulin
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Sympathetic nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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