Periaortic Adipose Tissue Compared With Peribrachial Adipose Tissue Mass as Markers and Possible Modulators of Cardiometabolic Risk

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Increased perivascular fat mass contributes to cardiometabolic risk (CMR). High peribrachial adipose tissue (PBAT) associates with insulin resistance independently of established CMR parameters. It is unknown to what extent periaortic adipose tissue (PAAT) may have a similar impact. In 95 participants, precise quantification of total adipose tissue, PBAT, PAAT, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and liver fat (LF) content was performed by whole-body magnetic resonance imaging. Insulin sensitivity was determined by oral glucose tolerance test and carotid intima–media thickness (cIMT) by high-resolution ultrasound. In univariate analyses, PAAT correlated with PBAT (β = .65, P < .0001). A negative correlation of PAAT (β = −.35, P = .0002) and PBAT (β = −.43, P < .0001) with insulin sensitivity was observed. While in a stepwise forward regression analysis the relationship of PAAT with insulin sensitivity was no longer significant after adjustment for VAT, LF content, and other CMR factors (P = 0.42), PBAT still correlated with insulin sensitivity (r2 = .35, P = .01). The association between PAAT and cIMT (β = .49, P < .0001) remained significant after adjustment for these variables (r2 = .42, P = .0001). Although PAAT and PBAT strongly correlate, PAAT is not associated with insulin resistance, but with cIMT. Therefore, PAAT and PBAT may act differently as possible modulators of insulin resistance and subclinical atherosclerosis.

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