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Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Feb;65(2):403-8.

Prediction of total subcutaneous abdominal, intraperitoneal, and retroperitoneal adipose tissue masses in men by a single axial magnetic resonance imaging slice.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA.


To develop a simplified but accurate method for determining the masses of various abdominal adipose tissue compartments, we studied the predictive value of masses of intraperitoneal, retroperitoneal, and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue determined on single axial abdominal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) slices taken at various intervertebral levels from the 12th thoracic to 1st sacral vertebra (identified on a sagittal section) for the respective total masses of each compartment calculated from contiguous 10-mm thick MRI slices covering the entire abdomen in 49 men (26 without diabetes and 23 with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus). The MRI slice at the intervertebral level between the lumbar (L) 2 and 3 vertebrae showed the highest and most consistent predictive value for all three compartments (R2 = 0.85 for all). Furthermore, compared with other intervertebral levels, the L2-L3 level had a higher amount of intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal adipose tissue mass. We conclude that determining the masses of various abdominal adipose tissue compartments at the L2-L3 intervertebral level by MRI is an acceptably reliable and accurate method for studying abdominal adiposity in men.

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