Mesenteric fat thickness as an independent determinant of fatty liver

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Mesenteric fat is drained by the portal circulation and has been suggested to be a key component in obesity-related health risk, notably the metabolic syndrome. There are increasing epidemiological and experimental data showing that fatty liver is another component of this multifaceted syndrome. Given their intimate anatomical and physiological relationships, we hypothesized that mesenteric fat thickness may be independently associated with the risk of fatty liver. To test this hypothesis, we examined the predictive role of various fat deposits including mesenteric fat thickness, and various metabolic variables on the risk of fatty liver.

Subjects and methods:

A total of 291 Chinese subjects (134 men and 157 women with a mean BMI of 23.7 kg/m2, range: 16.5-33.4 kg/m2) underwent ultrasound examination for measurement of mesenteric, subcutaneous and preperitoneal fat thickness, and for diagnosis of fatty liver. Body mass index, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio were recorded. Blood pressure was measured. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin resistance, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), liver enzymes were determined by common methods.


The subjects with fatty liver had greater abdominal fat thickness and higher anthropometric indexes than those without fatty liver. The subjects with fatty liver also showed higher blood pressure, worse lipid and glycaemic profile compared with those without fatty liver. Using multiple logistic regression analysis, mesenteric fat thickness was a risk factor of fatty liver, independent of body mass index, age, sex, insulin resistance, fasting plasma glucose, lipid and blood pressure. The odds ratio was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.27-1.77) for every 1 mm increase in the mesenteric fat thickness. Measurement of preperitoneal and subcutaneous fat deposits did not show significant associations with fatty liver.


Mesenteric fat thickness measured on ultrasound is an independent determinant of fatty liver.

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