Impact of physiological parameters on the parotid gland fat fraction in a normal population

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 18;13(1):990. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-28193-z.


Quantifying physiological fat tissue in the organs is important to further assess the organ's pathologic status. This study aimed to investigate the impact of body mass index (BMI), age, and sex on the fat fraction of normal parotid glands. Patients undergoing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least squares estimation (IDEAL-IQ) due to non-salivary gland-related disease were reviewed. Clinical information of individual patients was categorized into groups based on BMI (under/normal/overweight), age (age I/age II/age III), and sex (female/male) and an inter-group comparison of the fat fraction values of both parotid glands was conducted. Overall, in the 626 parotid glands analyzed, the fat fraction of the gland was 35.80%. The mean fat fraction value increased with BMI (30.23%, 35.74%, and 46.61% in the underweight, normal and overweight groups, respectively [p < 0.01]) and age (32.42%, 36.20%, and 41.94% in the age I, II, and III groups, respectively [p < 0.01]). The fat content of normal parotid glands varies significantly depending on the body mass and age regardless of sex. Therefore, the patient's age and body mass should be considered when evaluating fatty change in the parotid glands in imaging results.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Overweight* / pathology
  • Parotid Gland* / diagnostic imaging
  • Water


  • Water