Thoracic periaortic and visceral adipose tissue and their cross-sectional associations with measures of vascular function

Authors

  • Kathryn A. Britton,

    1. Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA
    4. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Na Wang,

    1. Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Joseph Palmisano,

    1. Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Erin Corsini,

    1. Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Christopher L. Schlett,

    1. Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Udo Hoffmann,

    1. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Martin G. Larson,

    1. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA
    2. Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Ramachandran S. Vasan,

    1. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA
    2. Evans Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Joseph A. Vita,

    1. Evans Department of Medicine, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute and Cardiology Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Gary F. Mitchell,

    1. Cardiovascular Engineering Inc., Norwood, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Emelia J. Benjamin,

    1. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA
    2. Evans Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Evans Department of Medicine, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute and Cardiology Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
    4. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Naomi M. Hamburg,

    1. Evans Department of Medicine, Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute and Cardiology Section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Caroline S. Fox

    Corresponding author
    1. Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    2. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's and Boston University's Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA, USA
    3. Cardiovascular Engineering Inc., Norwood, MA, USA
    4. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Center for Population Studies, Framingham, MA, USA
    5. Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Hypertension, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    • Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Funding agencies: This study was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study (contract N01-HC-25195), and by RO1 HL70100; 1ROI HL60040); HL077447;K12 HL083786.

Correspondence: Caroline S. Fox (foxca@nhlbi.nih.gov)

Abstract

Objective: Perivascular fat may have a local adverse effect on the vasculature. We evaluated whether thoracic periaortic adipose tissue (TAT), a type of perivascular fat, and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were associated with vascular function.

Design and Methods

TAT and VAT were quantified in Framingham Heart Study participants using multidetector-computed tomography; vascular function was assessed using brachial artery vasodilator function, peripheral arterial tone, and arterial tonometry (n = 2,735; 48% women; mean age, 50 years; mean body mass index [BMI], 27.7 kg/m2). Using multiple linear regression, the relationships between TAT, VAT, and vascular measures was examined while adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors.

Results

Mean TAT and VAT volumes were 13.2 and 1763 cm3. TAT and VAT were associated with multiple vascular function measures after multivariable adjustment. After BMI adjustment, TAT and VAT remained negatively associated with peripheral arterial tone and inverse carotid femoral pulse wave velocity (P < 0.02); TAT was negatively associated with hyperemic mean flow velocity (P = 0.03). Associations of TAT with vascular function were attenuated after VAT adjustment (all P > 0.06).

Conclusions

Thoracic periaortic and visceral fat are associated with microvascular function and large artery stiffness after BMI adjustment. These findings support the growing recognition of associations between ectopic fat and vascular function.

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