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MRI assessment of ectopic fat accumulation in pancreas, liver and skeletal muscle in patients with obesity, overweight and normal BMI in correlation with the presence of central obesity and metabolic syndrome

Authors Pieńkowska J, Brzeska B, Kaszubowski M, Kozak O, Jankowska A, Szurowska E

Received 15 November 2018

Accepted for publication 22 February 2019

Published 3 May 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 623—636

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S194690

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Ms Justinn Cochran

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Juei-Tang Cheng


Joanna Pieńkowska,1 Beata Brzeska,1–3 Mariusz Kaszubowski,4 Oliwia Kozak,5 Anna Jankowska,6 Edyta Szurowska1

1II Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; 2Department of Biology and Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; 3Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; 4Institute of Statistics, Department of Economic Sciences, Faculty of Management and Economics, Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk, Poland; 5I Department of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland; 6Department of Radiology, University Clinical Centre in Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland

Purpose: Obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 30 kg/m2, is a serious health problem, which can be called an epidemic on a global scale and is one of the most important causes of preventable death. The aim of this study was to assess ectopic fat accumulation in pancreas, liver and skeletal muscle in patients with obesity, overweight and normal BMI in correlation with metabolic syndrome (MetS).
Patients and methods: The study included 267 consecutive patients who underwent a standard clinical assessment with BMI calculation. Ectopic fat accumulation in pancreas, liver, and skeletal muscle was evaluated by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using fat–water separated Dixon imaging. MetS was defined according to the criteria modified by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines. Central obesity was defined using gender and ethnic-specific values for waist circumference.
Results: There was a statistically significant correlation between the degree of steatosis of the assessed organs and BMI value as well as waist circumference ratio, that determined the degree of central obesity. It was found that the most rapid relative fat accumulation was in muscle, then in pancreas and then in liver. Higher steatosis of pancreas, liver, and muscle was demonstrated depending on the number of the satisfied MetS criteria.
Conclusion: Knowing that pancreatic fatty disease is a risk factor for MetS, it seems that assessment and monitoring of ectopic fat accumulation may have important clinical implications and may be used in the prediction of metabolic risk and its early prevention.

Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging, obesity, pancreatic steatosis, liver steatosis, metabolic syndrome, fat fraction

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