Adipose tissue distribution pattern in patients with familial partial lipodystrophy (Dunnigan variety)

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Jan;84(1):170-4. doi: 10.1210/jcem.84.1.5383.


Familial partial lipodystrophy, Dunnigan type (FPLD), is a rare autosomal dominant genetic disorder characterized by gradual loss of sc fat from the extremities, commencing at the time of puberty. Excess fat deposition may occur in the face and neck area. Limited information is available about adipose tissue distribution in patients with FPLD. To investigate whether there is a unique pattern of fat distribution in both affected men and women with FPLD, we performed whole-body magnetic resonance imaging in one male and three female patients from two pedigrees. Magnetic resonance imaging studies confirmed the clinical findings of near-total absence of sc fat from all extremities. Reduction in sc adipose tissue from the truncal area was more prominent anteriorly than posteriorly. Increased fat stores were observed in the neck and face. Intermuscular adipose tissue in the extremities and pelvic area were subjectively increased. Intraabdominal and intrathoracic adipose tissue was not reduced. Bone marrow fat, as well as mechanical adipose tissue, was present in normal amounts. The pattern of fat distribution in the male and females was similar. We conclude that FPLD results in a characteristic absence of sc fat from the extremities, with preservation of intermuscular fat stores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Adult
  • Extremities / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipodystrophy / genetics*
  • Lipodystrophy / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male