Background. Pericoronary epicardial adipose tissue (cEAT) serves as a metabolic and paracrine organ that contributes to inflammation and is associated with macrovascular coronary artery disease (CAD) development. Although there is a strong correlation in humans between cEAT volume and CAD severity, there remains a paucity of experimental data demonstrating a causal link of cEAT to CAD. The current study tested the hypothesis that surgical resection of cEAT attenuates inflammation and CAD progression.
Methods. Female Ossabaw miniature swine (n = 12) were fed an atherogenic diet for 8 months and randomly allocated into sham (n = 5) or adipectomy (n = 7) groups. Both groups underwent a thoracotomy, opening of the pericardial sac, and placement of radioopaque clips to mark the proximal left anterior descending artery. Adipectomy swine underwent removal of 1 to 1.5 cm(2) of cEAT from the proximal artery. After sham or adipectomy, CAD severity was assessed with intravascular ultrasonography. Swine recovered for an additional 3 months on an atherogenic diet, and CAD was assessed immediately before euthanasia. Artery sections were processed for histologic and immunohistochemical analysis.
Results. Severity of CAD as assessed by percent stenosis was reduced in the adipectomy cohort compared with shams; however, plaque size remained unaltered, whereas larger plaque sizes developed in sham-operated swine. Adipectomy resulted in an expanded arterial diameter, similar to the Glagov phenomenon of positive outward remodeling. No differences in inflammatory marker expression were observed.
Conclusions. These data indicate that cEAT resection did not alter inflammatory marker expression, but arrested CAD progression through increased positive outward remodeling and arrest of atherogenesis. (C) 2017 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons