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Open Access Highly Accessed Original investigation

Contribution of subcutaneous abdominal fat on ultrasonography to carotid atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus

Chan-Hee Jung1, Bo-Yeon Kim1, Kyu-Jin Kim1, Sang-Hee Jung2, Chul-Hee Kim1, Sung-Koo Kang1 and Ji-Oh Mok1*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, #170 Jomaru-ro, Wonmi-gu, Bucheon-si, Gyeonggi-do 420-767, South Korea

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Cha University School of Medicine, Bundang, South Korea

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:67  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-67

Published: 28 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Whereas visceral abdominal adipose tissue (VAT) is associated with cardiometabolic risk, there is debate regarding the role of subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAT). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships of subcutaneous and visceral abdominal fat with carotid atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Methods

A total of 234 patients (men 131, women 103, mean age: 53 years) with T2DM were enrolled. Carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), abdominal subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT) and visceral fat thickness (VFT) were assessed by high-resolution B-mode ultrasonography (US).

Results

Compared to women, men had significantly higher VFT and lower SFT (p = 0.002, p = 0.04, respectively). In partial correlation coefficient analyses between CIMT and abdominal fat thickness after adjustment for body mass index (BMI), SFT showed a negative correlation with CIMT in men (r = -0.27, p = 0.03). VFT was not correlated with CIMT in either men or women. In women, SFT was not correlated with CIMT (r = -0.01, p = 0.93). VFT/SFT ratio was not correlated with CIMT in either men or women. In multivariate regression analyses adjusted for BMI and other CVD risk factors, SFT but not VFT was independently inversely associated with CIMT in men but not in women (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

SFT assessed by US was inversely associated with carotid atherosclerosis in patients with T2DM, particularly men. Further research into the different roles of the two types of abdominal adipose tissue in both men and women is warranted.

Keywords:
Carotid atherosclerosis; Subcutaneous abdominal fat; Subcutaneous fat thickness; Visceral fat thickness; Ultrasonography; Type 2 diabetes mellitus