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Atherosclerosis. 2012 Jan;220(1):122-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.10.026. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

Expression of fat mobilizing genes in human epicardial adipose tissue.

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Princess Alexandra Hospital, Department of Cardiothoratic Surgery, Brisbane, Australia.



Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) mass correlates with metabolic syndrome and coronary artery disease (CAD). However, little is known about the expression of genes involved in triglyceride (TG) storage and mobilization in EAT. We therefore analyzed the expression of genes involved in fat mobilization in EAT in comparison to subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (AAT) in CAD patients and in controls.


EAT and AAT were obtained during coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery from 16 CAD patients and from 14 non-CAD patients presenting for valve surgery. The state of atherosclerosis was assessed by angiography. RNA from tissues were extracted, reversibly transcribed and quantified by real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The following genes were analyzed: perilipin-1 and -5 (PLIN1, PLIN5), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), hormone sensitive lipase (HSL), adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), comparative gene identification-58 (CIG-58), angiopoietin like protein 4 (ANGPTL4), in addition to interleukine-6 (IL-6), leptin (LEP) and adiponectin (ADPN).


A significant expression of all listed genes could be observed in EAT. The relative expression pattern of the 10 genes in EAT was comparable to the expression in AAT, yet there was a significantly higher overall expression in AAT. The expression of the listed genes was not different between CAD patients and controls.


It is suggested that the postulated difference in EAT volume between CAD patients and non-CAD patients is not caused by a differential mRNA expression of fat mobilizing genes. Further work on protein levels and enzyme activities will be necessary to get a complete picture.

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