Role of Epicardial Adipose Tissue in Cardiovascular Diseases: A Review

Michał Konwerski, Aleksandra Gasecka, Grzegorz Opolski, Marcin Grabowski, Tomasz Mazurek

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading causes of death worldwide. Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) is defined as a fat depot localized between the myocardial surface and the visceral layer of the pericardium and is a type of visceral fat. EAT is one of the most important risk factors for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events and a promising new therapeutic target in CVDs. In health conditions, EAT has a protective function, including protection against hypothermia or mechanical stress, providing myocardial energy supply from free fatty acid and release of adiponectin. In patients with obesity, metabolic syndrome, or diabetes mellitus, EAT becomes a deleterious tissue promoting the development of CVDs. Previously, we showed an adverse modulation of gene expression in pericoronary adipose tissue in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). Here, we summarize the currently available evidence regarding the role of EAT in the development of CVDs, including CAD, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation. Due to the rapid development of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also discuss data regarding the association between EAT and the course of COVID-19. Finally, we present the potential therapeutic possibilities aiming at modifying EAT’s function. The development of novel therapies specifically targeting EAT could revolutionize the prognosis in CVDs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number355
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • EAT
  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Inflammation

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