Background and aim: Epicardial fat (EF) is a metabolically active organ as well as visceral fat (VF). EF has been recognized as a potential additional marker of cardiac risk in obesity and type 2 diabetes. This study wants to assess the relation between EF and VF and the correlation with nutritional and hormonal parameters.
Material and Methods: Fifty-nine overweight/obese women were enrolled in the study. All women underwent anthropometric measurements, nutritional assessment and oral glucose tolerance test; HOMA-IR and ISIcomposite were calculated to assess insulin resistance and sensitivity respectively. Twenty-four hours urine were collected for urinary free cortisol determination (UFC/24 h). They underwent echocardiography for detection of EF. A subgroup of 27 obese women with stress related obesity (SRO) was also examined. They were characterized by rapid weight gain after a stressful event exposure (Vicennati V. et al, 2009).
Results: BMI was 33.4±3.28 kg/m2 and waist circumference 104±8.8 cm. EF was 133±62 cm2. EF was positively and significantly correlated with BMI (P=0.001), waist circumference (P=0.000), ISIcomposite (P=0.025), HOMA-IR (P=0.05). No significant relationship was present between EF and total testosterone and UFC/24 h. EF was also positively and significantly correlated with dietary lipid intake (P=0.009), satured fatty acids (P=0.017), polyunsaturated (P=0.018) and monounsaturated fatty acids (P=0.002). EF was also significantly correlated with dietary cholesterol (P=0.0461). In a multiple correlation model, only waist circumference persisted significant (P=0.036). In the SRO group, EF (120±54 cm2) was positively correlated to BMI (P=0.017), HOMA-IR (P=0.012), UFC/24 h (P=0.018). In a multiple regression model, only waist circumference persisted significantly correlated to EF (P=0.03).
Conclusion: These findings suggest that EF represent a target visceral fat depots. Further studies should investigated the specific relationship between EF and the endocrine and metabolic milieu in a larger population with different obesity phenotypes.
Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research project.
Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.
05 - 09 May 2012
European Society of Endocrinology