Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


SAT-IMG — Result In Brief

Project ID: 300373
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

An index for abdominal obesity

Researchers studying the role of abdominal fat layers in disease have linked one of these layers to increased diabetes risk in men.
An index for abdominal obesity
Abdominal obesity has been linked to a number of health problems, but the link between expanding fat deposits and diabetes risk is not understood. Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in the abdomen is divided in to two layers: deep SAT (dSAT) and superficial SAT (sSAT).

The EU-funded SAT-IMG (Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue depots and human metabolic profile: A novel concept of metabolic dysfunction in abdominal obesity) initiative aimed to find the differences between dSAT and sSAT, and determine how genetic regulation controls the way that layers are distributed.

Project researchers worked on developing a new index of abdominal obesity using ultrasound. To do this, they measured the depth of the fat in the thigh and in the deep abdomen of each of the study participants.

The team performed ultrasound-guided biopsies on 43 individuals, followed by gene expression studies, as well as measurements of fatty acid composition and fat cell size.

Researchers compared SAT between pre- and post-menopausal women using ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, to find how the SAT layers change and expand during menopause. However, they found that menopause had no effect on the expansion of SAT or the distribution of its two layers.

SAT-IMG found that obese men showed a disproportionate expansion of dSAT, and that it is a strong predictor of global insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. The project also found that dSAT contained higher proportions of saturated fatty acids and showed higher expression of proinflammatory, lipogenic and lipolytic genes.

These results provide the medical community with a new, easy-to-use tool that shows the relationship between abdominal fat and expected health outcomes.

Related information


Obesity, abdominal fat, diabetes, subcutaneous adipose tissue, SAT-IMG, metabolic
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