Association between endothelial dysfunction, epicardial fat and sub-clinical atherosclerosis during menopause

Julio Oscar Cabrera-Rego, Daisy Navarro-Despaigne, Liudmila Staroushik-Morel, Karel Díaz-Reyes, Marcos M. Lima-Martínez, Gianluca Iacobellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Menopausal transition is critical for the development of early, subclinical vascular damage. Multiple factors, such as atherosclerosis, increased epicardial fat, and endothelial dysfunction can play a role. Hence, the objective of this study was the comparison of epicardial adipose tissue and carotid intima media thickness in order to establish the best predictor of carotid stiffness in middle-aged women with endothelial dysfunction. Methods: A total of 43 healthy women aged 40-59 years old with endothelial dysfunction previously demonstrated by flow mediated dilation were recruited to have anthropometric, biochemical, hormonal and ultrasound determinations of carotid intima media thickness and epicardial fat thickness. Results: Carotid arterial stiffness parameters (local pulse wave velocity [4.7. ±. 0.7 vs 4.8. ±. 0.5 vs 5.6. ±. 0.5. m/s, respectively, p <. 0.001], pressure strain elastic modulus [55.2. ±. 13.4 vs 59.2. ±. 11.8 vs 81.9. ±. 15.6. kPa, respectively, p <. 0.001], arterial stiffness index β [4.4. ±. 1.4 vs 5.0. ±. 1.1 vs 6.4. ±. 1.3, respectively, p <. 0.001]) and epicardial fat thickness (2.98. ±. 1.4 vs 3.28. ±. 1.9 vs 4.70. ±. 1.0. mm, respectively, p = 0.007) showed a significant and proportional increase in the group of late post-menopausal women when compared to early post-menopausal and pre-menopausal groups, respectively. Among body fat markers, epicardial fat was the strongest predictor of local pulse wave velocity, independent of age. Conclusions: In menopausal women with endothelial dysfunction, menopausal transition is associated with increased carotid arterial stiffness and epicardial fat thickness, independent of age. Ultrasound measured epicardial fat was a better independent predictor of arterial stiffness than carotid intima media thickness in these women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalClinica e Investigacion en Arteriosclerosis
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Arterial stiffness
  • Carotid intima-media thickness
  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Epicardial fat
  • Menopause

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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