Epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) has been implicated in the development of heart disease. Nonetheless, the crosstalk between factors secreted from EAT and cardiomyocytes has not been studied. Here, we examined the effect of factors secreted from EAT on contractile function and insulin signalling in primary rat cardiomocytes. EAT and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) were isolated from guinea pigs fed a high-fat (HFD) or standard diet. HFD feeding for 6 months induced glucose intolerance, and decreased fractional shortening and ejection fraction (all P < 0.05). Conditioned media (CM) generated from EAT and SAT explants were subjected to cytokine profiling using antibody arrays, or incubated with cardiomyocytes to assess the effects on insulin action and contractile function. Eleven factors were differentially secreted by EAT when compared to SAT. Furthermore, secretion of 30 factors by EAT was affected by HFD feeding. Most prominently, activin A-immunoreactivity was 6.4-fold higher in CM from HFD versus standard diet-fed animals and, 2-fold higher in EAT versus SAT. In cardiomyocytes, CM from EAT of HFD-fed animals increased SMAD2-phosphorylation, a marker for activin A-signalling, decreased sarcoplasmic-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase 2a expression, and reduced insulin-mediated phosphorylation of Akt-Ser473 versus CM from SAT and standard diet-fed animals. Finally, CM from EAT of HFD-fed animals as compared to CM from the other groups markedly reduced sarcomere shortening and cytosolic Ca2+ fluxes in cardiomyocytes. These data provide evidence for an interaction between factors secreted from EAT and cardiomyocyte function.