Relationship of abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue with lipoprotein particle number and size in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes. 2008 Aug;57(8):2022-7. doi: 10.2337/db08-0157. Epub 2008 May 9.


Objective: Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are associated with an atherogenic lipoprotein profile. We examined the role of visceral and subcutaneous fat depots, independent of BMI, on the dyslipidemia associated with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: A total of 382 subjects with type 2 diabetes underwent abdominal computed tomography to evaluate subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) distribution and had anthropometric measurements to determine BMI and waist and hip circumference. Fasting blood was obtained for lipoprotein particle number and size using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The relationship of lipoprotein particle number and size with BMI, SAT, and VAT was examined using multivariable regression models adjusted for age, sex, diabetes therapy, duration of diabetes, smoking, statin use, and A1C levels. The relation of VAT to lipoprotein particle number and size was further evaluated after the addition of BMI, BMI plus SAT, or BMI plus homeostatis is model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) to the model.

Results: VAT was positively related to VLDL particle number (P < 0.0001), LDL particle number (P < 0.01), and VLDL size (P < 0.0001) and negatively related to LDL size (P < 0.0001) and HDL size (P < 0.0001). These relationships remained unchanged after addition of BMI and SAT to the model. After addition of HOMA-IR, VAT remained positively related to VLDL particle number (P < 0.0001) and size (P < 0.01) and negatively related to LDL and HDL particle size (P < 0.0001 for both comparisons). Neither BMI nor SAT was independently related to lipoprotein parameters.

Conclusions: In patients with type 2 diabetes, higher VAT independent of BMI was associated with higher VLDL and LDL particle number, larger VLDL particles, and smaller LDL and HDL particles. This lipoprotein pattern has been associated with increased risk for atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Linear Models
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism*
  • Lipoproteins, HDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*


  • Lipoproteins
  • Lipoproteins, HDL
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL