2019 Leone Nutrients
Sex- and age-related differences in the contribution of ultrasound-measured visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat to fatty liver index in overweight and obese Caucasian adults
Colombo E.M., Kunova A., Cortesi P., Saracchi M.*, Pasquali M.
Leone A., Battezzati A.*, Bedogni G., Vignati L., Vanzulli A., De Amicis R., Foppiani A., Bertoli S.
Fatty liver disease is the most common chronic liver disease in Western countries. In Italy, about one in two individuals is affected by this disease, with a greater prevalence in men and elderly. Abdominal obesity is the main risk factor for the development of this disease. However, there are sex- and age-related differences in the distribution of abdominal adipose tissue. Men tend to accumulate visceral adipose tissue (VAT), while women tend to accumulate subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT). At the same time VAT tends to increase with age, while SAT decreases after age 50. These differences in the distribution of abdominal adipose tissue are, presumably, the basis of the different risk of fatty liver disease observed between males and females, and young and old.
This study aims to assess the existence of sex- and age-related differences in the contribution of VAT and SAT on the Fatty Liver Index (FLI), a predictive parameter of fatty liver disease risk, and to identify VAT and SAT threshold values predictive of high disease risk. Multivariate analysis showed a higher FLI in men, and rising with increasing age, VAT and SAT. In addition, we observed that sex*VAT, age*VAT, sex*SAT and age*SAT interactions negatively contributed to FLI, indicating a lower VAT and SAT contribution to FLI in men and in the elderly for every 1 cm of increment. Given these sex and age differences in the contribution of VAT and SAT to FLI, we estimated sex- and age-specific VAT and SAT threshold values to predict the risk of fatty liver disease (see Figure).
In conclusion, abdominal fatty tissue deposits are associated with FLI, but their contribution depends on sex and age.
Leone, A.; et al. 2019. Sex- and age-related differences in the contribution of ultrasound-measured visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat to fatty liver index in overweight and obese Caucasian adults. Nutrients 11:3008, doi: 10.3390/nu11123008