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Cardiol Res Pract. 2016;2016:1291537. doi: 10.1155/2016/1291537. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

Epicardial Fat: Physiological, Pathological, and Therapeutic Implications.

Author information

1
Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, University of Zulia, Maracaibo 4004, Venezuela.
2
Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, University of Zulia, Maracaibo 4004, Venezuela; Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
3
Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Research Center, University of Zulia, Maracaibo 4004, Venezuela; Internal Medicine Service, "Dr. Manuel Noriega Trigo" Hospital, San Francisco 4004, Venezuela.

Abstract

Epicardial fat is closely related to blood supply vessels, both anatomically and functionally, which is why any change in this adipose tissue's behavior is considered a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease development. When proinflammatory adipokines are released from the epicardial fat, this can lead to a decrease in insulin sensitivity, low adiponectin production, and an increased proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. These adipokines move from one compartment to another by either transcellular passing or diffusion, thus having the ability to regulate cardiac muscle activity, a phenomenon called vasocrine regulation. The participation of these adipokines generates a state of persistent vasoconstriction, increased stiffness, and weakening of the coronary wall, consequently contributing to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Therefore, epicardial adipose tissue thickening should be considered a risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, a potential therapeutic target for cardiovascular pathology and a molecular point of contact for "endocrine-cardiology."

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