Critical illness induces among other events production of proinflammatory cytokines that in turn interfere with insulin signaling cascade and induce insulin resistance on a postreceptor level. Recently, local renin-angiotensin system of adipose tissue has been suggested as a possible contributor to the development of insulin resistance in patients with obesity. The aim of our study was to determine local changes of the renin-angiotensin system of subcutaneous and epicardial adipose tissue during a major cardiac surgery, which may serve as a model of an acute stress potentially affecting endocrine function of adipose tissue. Ten patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery were included into the study. Blood samples and samples of subcutaneous and epicardial adipose tissue were collected at the beginning and at the end of the surgery. Blood glucose, serum insulin and adiponectin levels were measured and mRNA for angiotensinogen, angiotensin-converting enzyme and angiotensin II type 1 receptor were determined in adipose tissue samples using RT PCR. Cardiac surgery significantly increased both insulin and blood glucose levels suggesting the development of insulin resistance, while serum adiponectin levels did not change. Expression of angiotensinogen mRNA significantly increased in epicardial adipose tissue at the end of surgery relative to baseline but remained unchanged in subcutaneous adipose tissue. Fat expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme and type 1 receptor for angiotensin II were not affected by surgery. Our study suggests that increased angiotensinogen production in epicardial adipose tissue may contribute to the development of postoperative insulin resistance.