LINKÖPING, Sweden, Nov. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- AMRA Medical researchers presented new data at The Liver Meeting Digital Experience® – held by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD) – revealing the impact of discordant body fat distribution on coronary heart disease (CHD) risk. In collaboration with Dr. Ian Neeland at University Hospitals, AMRA researchers found an increased risk of coronary events among people with high visceral adipose tissue and low liver fat.
The researchers measured the visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and liver fat (LF) from magnetic resonance images of 12,276 participants from the UK Biobank, the researchers assessed and divided individuals into four groups defined by sex-specific median values of VAT and LF: low VAT-low LF, low VAT-high LF, high VAT-low LF, and high VAT-high LF. Participants were followed for 1.3 years (on average) to detect VAT-LF groups' associations with CHD incidence.
In total, 176 CHD events were recorded, revealing that high visceral adiposity increased risk for CHD; this effect was exacerbated in those who also had low liver fat – elevating the risk for CHD greater than two-fold compared with low VAT-low LF. High liver fat in combination with low visceral adiposity (low VAT-high LF), did not increase the risk for CHD. After adjusting for age and body mass index, high VAT-high LF association with CHD diminished, but the increased risk of CHD among those with high VAT-low LF persisted.
"We believe knowledge of patient risk for disease is limited when assessment is restricted to single, isolated fat depots. When developing NAFLD treatments, a decrease in liver fat alone may not be sufficient to lower patients' cardiometabolic risk. In fact, the research shows that decreasing liver fat without resolving visceral obesity may put the patient at greater risk of heart disease. This is what we want to investigate further," stated Jennifer Linge, Lead Scientist, Personalized Medicine at AMRA Medical.
The results suggest that heterogeneity of body fat distribution affects CHD risk. Specifically, risk for CHD increased among those with high visceral adiposity, which intensifies in the presence of low liver fat – indicating that liver triglyceride regulation plays a vital role in cardiovascular health in the context of visceral obesity.
Learn more about these findings by viewing the recorded presentation. The corresponding abstract "Can Low Liver Fat Be Bad for Your Heart? The High Visceral Fat, Low Liver Fat Phenotype: A Risk Factor for Coronary Heart Disease" (number 89) can be found in the journal HEPATOLOGY.
About UK Biobank
UK Biobank is large-scale biomedical database and research resource, containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants. The database, which is regularly augmented with additional data, is globally accessible to approved researchers and scientists undertaking vital research into the most common and life-threatening diseases. UK Biobank's research resource is a major contributor to the advancement of modern medicine and treatment and has enabled several scientific discoveries that improve human health.
About AMRA Medical
AMRA is a ground-breaking international digital health company at the forefront of medical imaging and precision medicine. The company has developed a new global standard in body composition assessment, the ability to automatically produce multiple fat and muscle biomarkers with unrivaled precision and accuracy, as well as contextual disease insights – all from a single, rapid, whole-body MRI.