Background: Liver fat and visceral adiposity are involved in the development of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Ectopic fat accumulation within and around the heart has been related to increased risk of heart disease. The aim of this study was to explore components of cardiac steatosis and their relationship to intra-abdominal ectopic fat deposits and cardiometabolic risk factors in nondiabetic obese men.
Methods: Myocardial and hepatic triglyceride (TG) contents were measured with 1.5 T magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and visceral adipose (VAT), abdominal subcutaneous tissue (SAT), epicardial and pericardial fat by magnetic resonance imaging in 37 men with the MetS and in 40 men without the MetS.
Results: Myocardial and hepatic TG contents, VAT, SAT, epicardial fat volumes, and pericardial fat volumes were higher in men with the MetS compared with subjects without the MetS (P < .001). All components of cardiac steatosis correlated with SAT, VAT, and hepatic TG content and the correlations seemed to be strongest with VAT. Myocardial TG content, epicardial fat, pericardial fat, VAT, and hepatic TG content correlated with waist circumference, body mass index, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol TGs, very low-density lipoprotein-1 TGs, and the insulin-resistance homeostasis model assessment index. VAT was a predictor of TGs, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and measures of glucose metabolism, whereas age and SAT were determinants of blood pressure parameters.
Conclusions: We suggest that visceral obesity is the best predictor of epicardial and pericardial fat in abdominally obese subjects. Myocardial TG content may present a separate entity that is influenced by factors beyond visceral adiposity.