Pre-diabetes is associated with attenuation rather than volume of epicardial adipose tissue on computed tomography

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  • David Molnar
  • Elias Björnson
  • Måns Larsson
  • Martin Adiels
  • Anders Gummesson
  • Fredrik Bäckhed
  • Ola Hjelmgren
  • Göran Bergström

The volume of epicardial adipose tissue (EATV) is increased in type-2 diabetes (T2D), while its attenuation (EATA) appears to be decreased. Similar patterns have been suggested in pre-diabetes, but data is scarce. In both pre-diabetes and T2D, any independent role of EATV and EATA in disease development remains to be proven, a task complicated by their substantial co-variation with other anthropometrics, e.g. BMI, waist circumference, and abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT). EATV and EATA was quantified in computed tomography (CT) images in a population study (n = 1948) using an automatic technique. Data was available on BMI, waist circumference, abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) area, insulin resistance (IR) and glucose tolerance, the latter ranging from normal (NGT), over pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose [IFG, n = 414] impaired glucose tolerance [IGT, n = 321] and their combination [CGI, n = 128]), to T2D. EATV was increased in pre-diabetes, T2D and IR in univariable analyses and when adjusting for BMI, however not when adjusting for waist or VAT. EATA was reduced in pre-diabetes, T2D and IR in univariable analyses and when adjusting for BMI and waist, however not when adjusting for VAT. Adjustment for other co-variates had little influence on the results. In conclusion, EATV is increased and EATA reduced in pre-diabetes, T2D and IR, however, significant co-variation with other anthropometrics, especially VAT, obscures their function in disease development. The current results do not exclude a pathophysiological role of epicardial fat, but future studies need to adjust for anthropometrics, or focus on the microenvironment within the pericardial sac.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1623
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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