Effect of fat distribution on endothelial-dependent and endothelial-independent vasodilatation in healthy humans

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The present study aims to explore the relationship between inflammatory cytokines, plasma lipids, insulin, blood pressure (BP), total adiposity/markers of fat distribution and endothelial function in healthy people across a wide range of body fatness.


Seventy-three healthy people (44 women; age range: 24–64 years) with body mass index (BMI) range of 18.6–73.1 kg/m2 were recruited. All participants underwent assessment of conduit artery endothelial-dependent vasodilatation by using flow-mediated vasodilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery and endothelial-independent vasodilatation to sublingual GTN. They had blood taken for measurement of plasma markers of glucose homeostasis (fasting insulin and glucose), systemic inflammation (interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and tumour necrosis factor-α receptor 2 (TNF-α R2)) and lipids (low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides). Morphometric assessment (waist circumference, BMI and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)) and systolic and diastolic arterial pressure were also measured.


Markers of total body fat/fat distribution (waist circumference, BMI and WHR), inflammation (IL-6, CRP and TNF-α R2), metabolism (fasting insulin, HDL, LDL and triglycerides) and BP (systolic and diastolic) correlated with FMD. Among these measurements, WHR was the only independent predictor of FMD (r2 = 0.30; p = 0.0001).


WHR is an important marker of endothelial dysfunction in healthy people across a wide range of body fatness.

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