Relation of abdominal fat depots to systemic markers of inflammation in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):932-7. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1856. Epub 2009 Feb 19.


Objective: Both visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) have been linked to systemic inflammation in nondiabetic cohorts. We examined the relationships between VAT and SAT and systemic inflammatory markers in a large well-characterized cohort of subjects with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: Three hundred eighty-two subjects with type 2 diabetes in the CHICAGO (Carotid Intima-Media Thickness in Atherosclerosis Using Pioglitazone) study cohort underwent abdominal computed tomography to determine SAT and VAT distribution. Fasting blood was obtained for measurement of inflammatory markers. The relationships between inflammatory markers and BMI, SAT, and VAT were examined using regression models adjusted for age, sex, diabetes treatment, duration of diabetes, smoking, statin use, and A1C.

Results: VAT was positively related to CRP, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP), intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 (PAI-1) antigen before adjustment for BMI. After adjustment for BMI, the relationship to CRP was lost but positive associations with MCP (P < 0.01), PAI-1 (P < 0.0001), ICAM-1 (P < 0.01), and vascular cell adhesion molecule (P = 0.01) were evident. BMI was positively related to CRP (P < 0.0001) and IL-6 (P < 0.01) even after adjustment for VAT and SAT. SAT was not related to any inflammatory marker after adjustment for BMI.

Conclusions: In this large group of subjects with type 2 diabetes, BMI was most strongly associated with CRP and IL-6 levels. SAT was not associated with markers of systemic inflammation. The size of the VAT depot provided information additional to that provided by BMI regarding inflammatory markers that are strongly related to vascular wall remodeling and coagulation. Our findings suggest that adipose tissue distribution remains an important determinant of systemic inflammation in type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Black People
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Chicago
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Waist-Hip Ratio
  • White People


  • Biomarkers
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • C-Reactive Protein