Few studies have investigated the association between ectopic fat from different depots and cardiovascular risk scores and their components in the same population, and none have investigated these relations in South Asians. In a cross-sectional analysis of 796 participants in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) study who had measurements of visceral, subcutaneous, pericardial, hepatic, and intermuscular fat from abdominal and cardiac computed tomography scans, we used linear regression to determine the associations of 1 standard deviation difference in each ectopic fat depot with pooled cohort risk score and its components. Pericardial and visceral fat were more strongly associated with the pooled cohort risk score (3.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.5 to 3.7, and 2.7%, 95% CI 2.1 to 3.3, respectively) and components than intermuscular fat (2.3%, 95% CI 1.7 to 3.0); subcutaneous fat was inversely associated with the pooled cohort risk score (-2.6%, 95% CI -3.2 to 1.9) and hepatic fat attenuation was not linearly associated with the pooled cohort risk score when mutually adjusted (-0.3%, 95% CI -0.9 to 0.4). Associations for risk factor components differed by fat depot. In conclusion, subcutaneous and hepatic fat may have different functions than fat stored in other depots in South Asians. Determining whether these relations are heterogeneous by race may help elucidate the mechanisms underlying CVD disparities.
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