Epicardial fat: From the biomolecular aspects to the clinical practice

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Epicardial fat is the visceral fat depot of heart. It is a metabolically active organ with anatomical and functional contiguity to the myocardium. A dichotomous role has been attributed to the epicardial fat. Under physiological conditions, epicardial fat displays biochemical and thermogenic cardio-protective properties. Under pathological circumstances epicardial fat can locally affect the heart and coronary arteries through vasocrine or paracrine secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Epicardial fat can be measured with imaging techniques. Epicardial fat thickness reflects intra-abdominal and myocardial fat and correlates with metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease. Epicardial fat measurement may play a role in the stratification of the cardio-metabolic risk and serve as therapeutic target. Weight loss and anti-inflammatory drugs targeting the fat may modulate epicardial fat. Because epicardial and myocardial tissues share the same coronary arterial supply it is reasonable to hypothesize that improved local vascularisation may resume epicardial fat to its physiological role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1654
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Ectopic fat
  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat
  • Intra-myocardial fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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