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MAGMA. 2005 Jul;18(3):128-37. Epub 2005 Jul 6.

Age and gender related effects on adipose tissue compartments of subjects with increased risk for type 2 diabetes: a whole body MRI/MRS study.

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Section on Experimental Radiology, Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 3, 72076, Tübingen, Germany.


Quantitative measurement of adipose tissue (AT) compartments in the entire body and of lipids in muscle and liver cells by means of MRI and MRS. Assessment of age and gender related differences in AT compartments and determination of cross-correlations between AT compartments in a heterogeneous cohort at increased risk for metabolic diseases. One hundred and fifty healthy volunteers with increased risk to type 2 diabetes were examined. T1-weighted MRI was applied for whole-body adipose tissue quantification. Adipose tissue compartments were subdivided in lower extremities, trunk (abdominal subcutaneous (SCAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue), and upper extremities. Intrahepatocellular lipids (IHCL) and intramyocellular lipids (IMCL) in tibialis anterior and soleus muscle were determined by volume selective MRS. Females are characterized by lower %VAT (2.8+/-1.3% vs. 4.6+/-1.4%, p<0.001) and higher %SCAT (14.7+/-3.9% vs. 9.3+/-2.9%, p<0.001). There is a strong correlation between %VAT and age (r=0.64/0.60 for females/males), whereas %SCAT remained virtually unchanged in males (r=-0.09) and was only slightly increaseding in females (r =0.30, p<0.01). For IHCL, age related differences were observed in females with significantly increased IHCL in the older women, but not in males. IMCL contents in both muscles were found almost independent of age in both, males and females. Furthermore, VAT and IHCL show significant correlations in both groups. Assessed age and gender related differences, especially the age related significant increase of VAT and IHCL, as well as cross-correlations between different lipid compartments might contribute to a better understanding of the lipid metabolism under normal and pathologic metabolic conditions in humans.

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