Effect of Exercise on Inflamed Psoas Muscle in Women with Obesity: A Pilot Prospective 18F-FDG PET/CT Study

Diagnostics (Basel). 2021 Jan 24;11(2):164. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics11020164.


Obesity increases inflammation in skeletal muscle thereby promoting systemic inflammation which leads to increased risk of cardiometabolic disease. This prospective study aimed to evaluate whether the metabolic activity of psoas muscle (PM) was associated with systemic inflammation, and whether physical exercise could reduce the PM metabolic activity evaluated by 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) in women with obesity. A total of 23 women with obesity who participated in a 3-month physical exercise program were enrolled. 18F-FDG PET/CT was performed before the start of the program (baseline) and after completion of the program. The maximum standardized uptake value of psoas muscle (PM SUVmax) was used for the PM metabolic activity. The SUVmax of spleen and bone marrow, and the high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were used to evaluate the systemic inflammation. At baseline, PM SUVmax was strongly correlated with the systemic inflammation. The exercise program significantly reduced the PM SUVmax, in addition to adiposity and systemic inflammation. Furthermore, we found that the association between PM SUVmax and the systemic inflammation disappeared after completion of the exercise program. In women with obesity, PM SUVmax, assessed by 18F-FDG PET/CT, was associated with obesity-induced systemic inflammation and exercise reduced the PM SUVmax and eliminated its association with systemic inflammation.

Keywords: exercise; inflammation; obesity; positron-emission tomography; psoas muscle; skeletal muscle.