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Modest gain in visceral fat causes dysfunction of blood vessel lining in lean, healthy humans
Date:11/5/2007

s that in healthy people, modest weight gain results in impaired endothelial function -- even in the absence of changes in blood pressure. The second is the encouraging news: endothelial function recovers after weight loss. The third point is that it is visceral fat -- the abdominal fat that surrounds internal organs -- rather than fat deposited as subcutaneous fat, just under the skin, that predicts endothelial dysfunction.

About the Study

The researchers recruited 43 lean, healthy volunteers from the community who each had a body mass index -- a statistical measure of the relationship of height to weight -- of between 18.5 and 24.9 kilograms of weight/meter2 of height. The average age was 29, and 42 percent were women. None took medications or smoked. After a weight maintenance period supervised by an experienced dietitian, volunteers randomly were assigned to either gain weight (4 kilograms [kg], or about 9 pounds) or maintain weight. The fat-gainers consisted of 35 people. The weight-maintainer group totaled eight.

Researchers used ultrasound to measure endothelial function of the large vessel in the upper arm called the brachial artery, under several flow conditions, always at the same time in the early morning. Low flow indicated vessel dysfunction. For the fat-gainers, endothelial function was measured at the start of the study, after fat gain at eight weeks and after weight loss at 16 weeks. For the weight maintainers, endothelial function was measured at the start of the study and at follow-up eight weeks later. To measure body fat percent, the researchers used advanced body composition analysis techniques, including abdominal CT scans.

Results

At the conclusion of the study:

  • The fat-gainer group put on an average of 4 kg of fat and significantly increased their visceral and subcutaneous fat.

  • In the weight-maintainer group, the two kinds of flow measurements taken
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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