Perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT) helps regulate arterial homeostasis and plays a role in the pathogenesis of large vessel diseases. In this study, we investigated whether the PVAT of aortic occlusive lesions shows specific gene-expression patterns related to pathophysiology. By a genome-wide approach, we investigated the PVAT transcriptome in patients with aortoiliac occlusive disease. We compared the adipose layer surrounding the distal aorta (atherosclerotic lesion) with the proximal aorta (plaque-free segment), both within and between patients with complete aortoiliac occlusion (Oc) and low-grade aortic stenosis (St). We found that PVAT of the distal versus proximal aorta within both Oc- and St-patients lacks specific, locally restricted gene-expression patterns. Conversely, singular gene-expression profiles distinguished the PVAT between Oc- and St-patients. Functional enrichment analysis revealed that these signatures were associated with pathways related to metabolism of cholesterol, vessel tone regulation, and remodeling, including TGF-β and SMAD signaling. We finally observed that gene-expression profiles in omental-visceral or subcutaneous fat differentiated between Oc- and St-patients, suggesting that the overall adipose component associates with a different atherosclerosis burden. Our work points out the role of PVAT and, likely, other adipose tissues play in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying atherosclerotic disease, including the abdominal aortic occlusive forms.
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