Objective: Adipose tissue plays a role in the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), a unique visceral fat, presents with a high degree of inflammation in severe COVID-19. Whether and how adipose tissue may respond to the COVID-19 therapies is unknown. Methods: The difference in computed tomography-measured EAT and subcutaneous (SAT) attenuation, defined as mean attenuation expressed in Hounsfield units (HU), was retrospectively analyzed in 72 patients (mean [SD] age was 59.6 [12.4] years, 50 patients [69%] were men) at the hospital admission for COVID-19 and 99 days (interquartile range = 71-129) after discharge. Results: At the admission, EAT-HU was significantly correlated with blood glucose levels, interleukin 6, troponin T levels, and waist circumference. EAT-HU decreased from −87.21 (16.18) to −100.0 (11) (p < 0.001), whereas SAT-HU did not change (−110.21 [12.1] to −111.11 [27.82]; p = 0.78) after therapy. Changes in EAT-HU (expressed as ∆) significantly correlated with dexamethasone therapy (r = −0.46, p = 0.006) and when dexamethasone was combined with tocilizumab (r = −0.24, p = 0.04). Conclusions: Dexamethasone therapy was associated with significant reduction of EAT inflammation in COVID-19 patients, whereas SAT showed no changes. Anti-inflammatory therapies targeting visceral fat may be helpful in COVID-19.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics