Visceral fat is associated with lower brain volume in healthy middle-aged adults
Article first published online: 20 MAY 2010
Copyright © 2010 American Neurological Association
Annals of Neurology
Volume 68, Issue 2, pages 136–144, August 2010
How to Cite
Debette, S., Beiser, A., Hoffmann, U., DeCarli, C., O'Donnell, C. J., Massaro, J. M., Au, R., Himali, J. J., Wolf, P. A., Fox, C. S. and Seshadri, S. (2010), Visceral fat is associated with lower brain volume in healthy middle-aged adults. Ann Neurol., 68: 136–144. doi: 10.1002/ana.22062
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 20 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 APR 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 30 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Received: 11 JAN 2010
- Framingham Heart Study's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Grant Number: N01-HC-25195
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Grant Number: R01 NS17950
- National Institute on Aging. Grant Numbers: R01 AG16495, AG08122, AG033193, AG031287, AG033040, P30AG013846
- Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation
Midlife obesity has been associated with an increased risk of dementia. The underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Our aim was to examine the cross-sectional association of body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and computed tomography (CT)-based measurements of subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue with various magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) markers of brain aging in middle-aged community adults.
Participants from the Framingham Offspring cohort were eligible if in addition to having measurements of BMI, WC, WHR, SAT, and VAT, they had undergone a volumetric brain MRI scan with measurements of total brain volume (TCBV), temporal horn volume (THV), white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), and MRI-defined brain infarcts (BI). All analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and time interval between abdominal CT and brain MRI.
In a sample of 733 community participants (mean age, 60 years; 53% women), we observed an inverse association of BMI (estimate by standard deviation unit ± standard error = −0.27 ± 0.12; p = 0.02), WC (−0.30 ± 0.12; p = 0.01), WHR (−0.37 ± 0.12; p = 0.02), SAT (−0.23 ± 0.11; p = 0.04), and VAT (−0.36 ± 0.12; p = 0.002) with TCBV, independent of vascular risk factors. The association between VAT and TCBV was the strongest and most robust, and was also independent of BMI (−0.35 ± 0.15; p = 0.02) and insulin resistance (−0.32 ± 0.13; p = 0.01). When adjusting for C-reactive protein levels, the associations were attenuated (−0.17 ± 0.13; p = 0.17 for VAT). No consistently significant association was observed between the anthropometric or CT-based abdominal fat measurements and THV, WMHV, or BI.
In middle-aged community participants, we observed a significant inverse association of anthropometric and CT-based measurements of abdominal, especially visceral, fat with total brain volume. ANN NEUROL 2010