Epicardial adipose tissue: Clinical biomarker of cardio-metabolic risk

Alexandra C.Villasante Fricke, Gianluca Iacobellis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is part of the visceral adipose tissue (VAT) that surrounds the heart and it is a quantifiable, modifiable, and multifaceted tissue that has both local and systemic effects. When EAT is enlarged, EAT contributes to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk and plays a role in the development of metabolic syndrome (MetS). In this review, we will discuss the role of EAT in various facets of MetS, including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and insulin resistance. We examine the association between EAT and liver steatosis. We also address the correlations of EAT with HIV therapy and with psoriasis. We discuss racial differences in baseline EAT thickness. We conclude that EAT measurement serves as a powerful potential diagnostic tool in assessing cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Measurement of EAT is made less costly, more convenient, and yet accurate and reliable by transthoracic echocardiography. Furthermore, modification of EAT thickness has therapeutic implications for ASCVD, T2DM, and MetS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5989
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk
  • Cardiometabolic risk
  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat
  • HIV
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Race
  • Visceral adipose tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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