Type 2 diabetes: link between aortic flow and epicardial fat discovered

A chronic disease on the rise, type 2 diabetes (T2DM) affects 3.5 million patients in France.

We now know that this pathology is a cardiovascular risk factor, leading in particular to an increase in aortic stiffness (the aorta, the body’s main artery, no longer has sufficient capacity to absorb the pulsation linked to the blood flow carried by the heart).

To improve early diagnosis of T2DM, ICAN IHU teams conducted a research project to analyze the link between aortic flow and epicardial fat in a population of type 2 diabetics from the MetaCardis* clinical trial.

Découvrez ci-dessous les conclusions de la publication scientifique ” Associations of aortic stiffness and intra-aortic flow parameters with epicardial adipose tissue in patients with type-2 diabetes “ parue le 26 mai 2023 dans Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare.

Read the scientific publication

A study of aortic flow in patients with T2DM

With around 1 million people undiagnosed in France, T2D risk factors are relevant biomarkers for detecting metabolic severity and predicting unfavorable disease progression.

The aim of the project was to evaluate aortic flow parameters in patients with T2DM compared with healthy individuals, in order to assess the link with epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) accumulation as an index of cardiometabolic severity in diabetic patients.

  • Inclusion of 36 T2DM patients and 29 healthy volunteers
  • Cardiac and aortic MRI at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Heart Institute

What are the results?

In our study, aortic stiffness, represented by increased backflow volume and decreased distensibility, appears to be related to epicardial adipose tissue (EAT)volume in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT), a biomarker of metabolic severity, was higher in T2DM patients than in controls, and correlated negatively with ascending aortic distensibility and positively with normalized return flow volume.

The study found that the left ventricular phenotype was characterized by concentric remodeling with a decrease in stroke volume index despite overall left ventricular mass within a normal range.

Caption: Illustration of epicardial adipose tissue (in red) on a cine-SSFP end-diastolic medioventricular short-axis image of a healthy control. (A) and a patient with type 2 diabetes (B). The epicardium and pericardium are highlighted by red and green lines respectively.

This observation should be confirmed in the future on a larger population taking into account other specific biomarkers of inflammation and using a longitudinal prospective study design.

The research project team

  • Khaoula Bouazizi (ICAN Imaging – IHU ICAN, Laboratoire d’Imagerie Biomédicale – LIB, INSERM)
  • Mohamed Zarai, Mikaël Prigent (IHU ICAN)
  • Dr Abdallah Noufaily (Unité d’Imagerie Cardiovasculaire et Thoracique – ICT)
  • Thomas Dietenbeck, Emilie Bollache, Nadjia Kachenoura (Laboratoire d’Imagerie Biomédicale – LIB, INSERM)
  • Dr Toan Nguyen, Dr Valéria Della Valle, Pr Eléonore Blondiaux (AP-HP, Service de radiologie, Hôpital Armand-Trousseau)
  • Pr Karine Clément, Pr Judith Aron-Wisnewsky (Nutriomics – Nutrition et obésité : approches systémiques, Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine – CRNH)
  • Pr Fabrizio Andreelli (IHU ICAN, AP-HP, Service de diabétologie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière)
  • Pr Alban Redheuil (ICAN Imaging – IHU ICAN, AP-HP, Laboratoire d’Imagerie Biomédicale – LIB – INSERM, Unité d’Imagerie Cardiovasculaire et Thoracique – ICT)

*Funded by the European Union and coordinated by Inserm, MetaCardis (Metagenomics in Cardiometabolic Diseases) is a major innovative research project on the impact of changes in gut flora on the onset and progression of cardiometabolic and nutrition-related diseases. In 2012, it was deployed in 6 European countries with the support of a consortium of 14 partners. Know more.