Istituto di Fisiologia Clinica     
Sironi A. M., Petz R., De Marchi D., Buzzigoli E., Ciociaro D., Positano V., Lombardi M., Ferrannini E., Gastaldelli A. Impact of increased visceral and cardiac fat on cardiometabolic risk and disease. In: Diabetic Medicine, vol. 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2011.03503.x pp. 1 - 20. a journal of the British Diabetic Association, 2011.
Objective: Previous studies have highlighted the associations between abdominal, cardiac or total fat accumulation and cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of different ectopic fat depots on measurements of metabolic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease risk. Methods: Using magnetic resonance imaging in 113 subjects, we measured abdominal (visceral and subcutaneous) and cardiac (epicardial and extra-pericardial) fat depots and examined their association with overall (BMI) and abdominal obesity (waist circumference), dyslipidaemia (triglycerides, total and HDL cholesterol), glucose tolerance (by an oral glucose tolerance test) and insulin sensitivity, blood pressure and 10-year coronary heart disease risk by Framingham score. Results: Fat accumulation was proportional to the degree of obesity, with body fat ranging from 14 to 33 kg, visceral fat from 0.8 to 1.8 kg and cardiac fat from 134 to 236 g. Most cardiac fat (70% on average) was extra-pericardial, with a wide variability for both cardiac depots (epicardial: 172-2008 mm(2) ; extra-pericardial: 100-5056 mm(2) ). Only visceral and extra-pericardial fat, but not epicardial or subcutaneous fat, could discriminate between subjects with three or more factors of the metabolic syndrome or medium-to-high coronary heart disease risk score. Controlling for gender and BMI by multivariable analysis, the best marker of reduced insulin sensitivity was visceral fat (partial r = -0.35); extra-pericardial fat was the closest associate of increased blood pressure (partial r = 0.26) and both extra-pericardial and visceral fat clustered with hypertriglyceridaemia (partial r = 0.29 and 0.24; both P < 0.02). Conclusion: Increased epicardial fat does not necessarily translate into presence or prediction of disease. In contrast, increased deposition of visceral abdominal and extra-pericardial mediastinal fat are both associated with an enhanced cardiovascular disease risk profile.
URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&dopt=Citation&list_uids=22023514
Subject insulin resistance
intrathoracic fat
metabolic syndrome

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