Adiposity and spinal cord injury

World J Orthop. 2015 Sep 18;6(8):567-76. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v6.i8.567.


The drastic changes in body composition following spinal cord injury (SCI) have been shown to play a significant role in cardiovascular and metabolic health. The pattern of storage and distribution of different types of adipose tissue may impact metabolic health variables similar to carbohydrate, lipid and bone metabolism. The use of magnetic resonance imaging provides insights on the interplay among different regional adipose tissue compartments and their role in developing chronic diseases. Regional adipose tissue can be either distributed centrally or peripherally into subcutaneous and ectopic sites. The primary ectopic adipose tissue sites are visceral, intramuscular and bone marrow. Dysfunction in the central nervous system following SCI impacts the pattern of distribution of adiposity especially between tetraplegia and paraplegia. The current editorial is focused primarily on introducing different types of adipose tissue and establishing scientific basis to develop appropriate dietary, rehabilitation or pharmaceutical interventions to manage the negative consequences of increasing adiposity after SCI. We have also summarized the clinical implications and future recommendations relevant to study adiposity after SCI.

Keywords: Adiposity; Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; Ectopic adiposity; Intramuscular fat; Magnetic resonance imaging; Spinal cord injury; Visceral and subcutaneous adiposity.