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We studied the structural and the functional alterations of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) in hypertension with spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Measured with dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, a smaller body fat mass and a greater lean mass were found in SHR than in Wistar–Kyoto (WKY) rats, while body weight was comparable between them. In the thoracic PVAT, the density and the total number of brown adipocytes were greater in SHR than in WKY rats, while the cross section area of PVAT was similar between them. In functional assessment, four types of vessel preparations (with either intact PVAT or intact endothelium, or with both, or without both) were employed. Vessels with intact PVAT from SHR contracted more to phenylephrine than that from WKY rats, while vessels without PVAT exhibited comparable contractile response to phenylephrine between SHR and WKY rats. Both endothelium-dependent and -independent components of PVAT-associated attenuation of phenylephrine-induced contraction were reduced in SHR as compared with that of WKY rats. Bioassay experiments were carried out to assess the transferable relaxation factor from the PVAT. Transfer of bathing solution incubated with PVAT-intact vessel caused less relaxation in SHR recipients than in WKY rats, and the relaxation response was abolished by D-Ala7-angiotensin-(1–7), an angiotensin-(1–7) receptor antagonist. In summary, PVAT-associated inhibition of vessel contractile response to agonist was impaired in SHR, and the impairment involved both endothelium-dependent and -independent mechanisms. The functional impairment observed in SHR PVAT may be related to changes in adipocyte composition but not to reduced PVAT mass in SHR.