Subdivision of the subcutaneous adipose tissue compartment and lipid-lipoprotein levels in women

Obes Res. 2003 Mar;11(3):469-76. doi: 10.1038/oby.2003.64.


Objective: The aim of this study was to compare the relative importance of computed tomography-measured abdominal fat compartment areas, including adipose tissue located posterior to the subcutaneous Fascia, in predicting plasma lipid-lipoprotein alterations.

Research methods and procedures: Areas of visceral as well as subcutaneous deep and superficial abdominal adipose tissue were measured by computed tomography in a sample of 66 healthy women, ages 37 to 60 years, for whom a detailed lipid-lipoprotein profile was available.

Results: Strong significant associations were observed between visceral adipose tissue area and most variables of the lipid-lipoprotein profile (r = -0.25, p < 0.05 to 0.62, p < 0.0001). Measures of hepatic lipoprotein synthesis such as very-low-density lipoprotein-triglyceride and cholesterol content as well as total and very-low-density lipoprotein-apolipoprotein B levels were also strongly associated with visceral adipose tissue area (r = 0.57, 0.57, 0.61, and 0.62, respectively, p < 0.0001). Significant associations were found between these variables and the deep subcutaneous adipose tissue area or DXA-measured total body fat mass. However, the correlation coefficients were of lower magnitude compared to those with visceral adipose tissue area. Multivariate regression analyses demonstrated that visceral adipose tissue area was the strongest predictor of lipid-lipoprotein profile variables (7% to 48% explained variance, 0.02 > or = p < or = 0.0001).

Discussion: Although previous studies have generated controversial data as to which abdominal adipose tissue compartment was more closely associated with insulin resistance, our results suggest that visceral adipose tissue area is a stronger correlate of other obesity-related outcomes such as lipid-lipoprotein alterations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adult
  • Apolipoproteins B / blood
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, VLDL / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Regression Analysis
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Viscera


  • Apolipoproteins B
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Cholesterol, VLDL
  • Lipids
  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol