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Keywords:

  • depression;
  • cardio-vascular diseases;
  • diabetes mellitus

Objective

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is associated with an increased risk for developing coronary artery disease (CAD). Recently, pericardial adipose tissue, a metabolically active visceral fat depot surrounding the heart, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of CAD. Therefore, we investigated pericardial adipose tissue volumes in patients with MDD and compared them to healthy comparison subjects.

Method

In this case-control study at a university medical center, 50 male and female in-patients with MDD and 25 healthy men and women were examined. The main outcome measures were the volumes of pericardial adipose tissue, intra-abdominal adipose tissue (IaAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (ScAT) which were measured using magnetic resonance imaging.

Results

The pericardial adipose tissue volumes were greater in men and women with MDD compared with the healthy comparison group following adjustments for the effects of age, weight, height, and physical activity.

Conclusion

This study expands our knowledge about the alterations in body composition that occur in patients with MDD. The findings are highly relevant for understanding the comorbidity between heart disease and depressive disorders.