Epicardial adipose tissue GLP-1 receptor is associated with genes involved in fatty acid oxidation and white-to-brown fat differentiation: A target to modulate cardiovascular risk?

Elena Dozio, Elena Vianello, Alexis E. Malavazos, Lorenza Tacchini, Gerd Schmitz, Gianluca Iacobellis, Massimiliano M. Corsi Romanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Background: Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Glucagon-like peptide 1 analogs (GLP-1A) may have beneficial cardiovascular effects and reduce EAT, possibly throughout targeting GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R). Nevertheless, the role of EAT GLP-1R, GLP-2R and their interplay with EAT genes involved in adipogenesis and fatty acid (FA) metabolism are unknown. We analyzed whether EAT transcriptome is related to GLP-1R/GLP-2R gene expression, and GLP-1/GLP-2 plasma levels in coronary artery disease patients (CAD). Methods: EAT was collected from 17 CAD patients undergoing CABG for microarray analysis of GLP-1R, GLP-2R and genes involved in FA metabolism and adipogenesis. EAT thickness was measured by echocardiography. GLP-1 and GLP-2 levels were quantified by ELISA in CAD and healthy subjects (CTR). Results: EAT GLP-1R was directly correlated with genes promoting beta-oxidation and white-to-brown adipocyte differentiation, and inversely with pro-adipogenic genes. GLP-2R was positively correlated with genes involved in adipogenesis and lipid synthesis, and inversely with genes promoting beta-oxidation. GLP-1 and GLP-2 levels were higher in CAD than CTR and in patients with greater EAT thickness. Conclusions: GLP-1 analogs may target EAT GLP-1R and therefore reduce local adipogenesis, improve fat utilization and induce brown fat differentiation. As EAT lies in direct contiguity to myocardium and coronary arteries, the beneficial effects of GLP-1 activation may extent to the heart. The increased levels of circulating GLP-1 and GLP-2 and EAT GLP-2R may be compensatory mechanisms related to CAD and also EAT expansion, but the meaning of these observations needs to be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • GLP-1 receptor
  • GLP-2 receptor
  • White-to-brown fat differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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