CT analysis of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue in normal BMI subjects: association with level of physical activity and hypertension

Hafiz Muhammad Rizwan, Zareen Fatima, Shoaib Sial, Iqra Ilyas, Khalid Idrees, Taiba Zulfiqar, Maria Mohsan, Arshad Jamal, Ahmed Bilal Waqar


Background: The distribution of adipose tissue, complex factors affecting it and its pathological consequences are among the hot topics in medical research nowadays. Most of the studies reported in the literature however describe the association of factors affecting the fat distribution in overweight and obese individuals. This particular study was however planned to find out the same in subjects having normal basal metabolic index (BMI). The objectives of the study were to analyze total adipose tissue (TAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in the abdomen volumetrically using CT, to establish the association of these to the levels of physical activity, presence or absence of hypertension and to compare these associations in both the genders.

Methods: A prospective study was carried out on seventy five, normal BMI subjects aged between 20–50 years. CT imaging was used for volumetric measurement of TAT, SAT and VAT. Pearson’s correlation of these were then found out with age. Kruskal Wallis test was also performed to compare these in hypertensive and non-hypertensive subjects and in those with different physical activity levels (PAL).

Results: Women showed significantly higher volumes of TAT and SAT. Men showed statistically significant correlations of TAT and VAT with age. SAT volumes had significant negative association with the PAL in both genders. Men showed higher responsiveness of fat deposition in all compartments to the presence of hypertension.

Conclusion: In conclusion, factors such as gender, age, level of physical activity and hypertension affect the site specific deposition of fat even in those individuals who aren’t over-weight or obese.

Keywords: Total Adipose Tissue (TAT); Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue (SAT); Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT)

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