Mid-Thigh Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue and Glucose Tolerance in the Quebec Family Study

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To clarify the relationship between the amount of mid-thigh subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) and glucose tolerance in men and women.


Mid-thigh and abdominal computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained from 63 men and 110 women from the Quebec Family Study. Areas and attenuations of adipose tissue compartments and skeletal muscle measured from CT scans were related to glycemia and insulinemia values from an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).


Adjusted for age and fat mass or age and percent fat, negative relationships (all p < 0.05) between the surface area of mid-thigh SCAT and OGTT data (glucose and insulin area under the curve, glycemia and insulin at 120 min) were seen in men (r range -0.22 to -0.37) and women (r range -0.20 to -0.30). Similar but weaker tendencies were observed when correcting for visceral adiposity. Correlations of OGTT variables with ratios of mid-thigh SCAT to abdominal visceral adipose tissue and to fat mass revealed significant negative relationships in both genders. Tertile analyses showed better glucose handling in subjects with a higher content of mid-thigh SCAT.


These data suggest that the preferential deposition of adipose tissue as mid-thigh SCAT is a strategy to prevent glucose intolerance.

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