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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jun;284(6):E1065-71. Epub 2003 Jan 28.

Visceral fat and liver fat are independent predictors of metabolic risk factors in men.

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School of Physical and Health Education, Department of Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.


We examined the independent associations among abdominal adipose tissue (AT), liver fat, cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), and lipid variables in 161 Caucasian men who had a wide variation in adiposity. We measured AT and liver fat by computed tomography and CRF by a maximal exercise test on a treadmill. Visceral AT remained a significant (P <or= 0.05) predictor of plasma triglycerides (TG), high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and total cholesterol (TC)/HDL-C ratio (TC/HDL-C) after statistical control for abdominal subcutaneous AT, CRF, and alcohol consumption. Abdominal subcutaneous AT was not a significant (P >or= 0.05) correlate of any lipid variable after control for visceral AT and CRF. Furthermore, subdivision of subcutaneous AT into deep and superficial depots did not alter these observations. Visceral AT was the strongest correlate of liver fat and remained so after control for abdominal subcutaneous AT, CRF, and alcohol consumption (r = -0.34, P < 0.01). In contrast, abdominal subcutaneous AT and CRF were not significant (P > 0.10) correlates of liver fat after control for visceral AT. Visceral AT remained a significant (P < 0.01) correlate of TG, HDL-C, and TC/HDL-C independent of liver fat. However, liver fat was also a significant correlate (P <or= 0.05) of fasting glucose and TG independent of visceral AT. These observations reinforce the importance of visceral obesity in the pathogenesis of dyslipidemia in men, and they suggest that visceral AT and liver fat carry independent health risk.

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