Novel atherogenic pathways from the differential transcriptome analysis of diabetic epicardial adipose tissue

V. Camarena, D. Sant, M. Mohseni, T. Salerno, M. L. Zaleski, G. Wang, G. Iacobellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background and aim To evaluate the epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) transcriptome in comparison to subcutaneous fat (SAT) in coronary artery disease (CAD) and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Methods and results SAT and EAT samples were obtained from subjects with T2DM and CAD (n = 5) and those without CAD with or without T2DM (=3) undergoing elective cardiac surgery. RNA-sequencing analysis was performed in both EAT and SAT. Gene enrichment analysis was conducted to identify pathways affected by the differentially expressed genes. Changes of top genes were verified by quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), western blot, and immunofluorescence. A total of 592 genes were differentially expressed in diabetic EAT, whereas there was no obvious changes in SAT transcriptome between diabetics and non-diabetics. Diabetic EAT was mainly enriched in inflammatory genes, such as Colony Stimulating Factor 3 (CSF3), Interleukin-1b (IL-1b), IL-6. KEGG pathway analysis confirmed that upregulated genes were involved in inflammatory pathways, such as Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), Nuclear Factor-κB (NF-κB) and advanced glycation end-products-receptor advanced glycation end products (AGE-RAGE). The overexpression of inflammatory genes in diabetic EAT was largely correlated with upregulated transcription factors such as NF-κB and FOS. Conclusions Diabetic EAT transcriptome is significantly different when compared to diabetic SAT and highly enriched with genes involved in innate immune response and endothelium, like Pentraxin3 (PTX3) and Endothelial lipase G (LIPG). EAT inflammatory genes expression could be induced by upregulated transcription factors, mainly NF-kB and FOSL, primarily activated by the overexpressed AGE-RAGE signaling. This suggests a unique and novel atherogenic pathway in diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-750
Number of pages12
JournalNutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


  • Epicardial adipose tissue
  • Epicardial fat
  • Transcriptome


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