PCSK9 Expression in Epicardial Adipose Tissue: Molecular Association with Local Tissue Inflammation

Elena Dozio, Massimiliano Ruscica, Elena Vianello, Chiara Macchi, Clementina Sitzia, Gerd Schmitz, Lorenza Tacchini, Massimiliano M Corsi Romanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has the unique property to release mediators that nourish the heart in healthy conditions, an effect that becomes detrimental when volume expands and proinflammatory cytokines start to be produced. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9), a proinflammatory mediator involved in atherosclerosis, is also produced by visceral fat. Due to the correlation of inflammation with PCSK9 and EAT enlargement, we evaluated whether PCSK9 was expressed in EAT and associated with EAT inflammation and volume. EAT samples were isolated during surgery. EAT thickness was measured by echocardiography. A microarray was used to explore EAT transcriptoma. The PCSK9 protein levels were measured by Western Blot in EAT and ELISA in plasma. PCSK9 was expressed at both the gene and protein levels in EAT. We found a positive association with EAT thickness and local proinflammatory mediators, in particular, chemokines for monocytes and lymphocytes. No association was found with the circulating PCSK9 level. The expression of PCSK9 in EAT argues that PCSK9 is part of the EAT secretome and EAT inflammation is associated with local PCSK9 expression, regardless of circulating PCSK9 levels. Whether reducing EAT inflammation or PCSK9 local levels may have beneficial effects on EAT metabolism and cardiovascular risk needs further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1348913
JournalMediators of Inflammation
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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