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1.  Pericardial Fat is Associated with Carotid Stiffness in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Background and Aims
Arterial stiffness is a prominent feature of vascular aging and a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Fat around the heart and blood vessels (i.e. pericardial fat, Pfat) may contribute to arterial stiffness via a local paracrine effect of adipose tissue on the surrounding vasculature. Thus, we determined the association between Pfat and carotid stiffness in 5,770 participants (mean age 62 yrs, 53% female, 25% African American, 24% Hispanic, and 13% Chinese) from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
Pfat was measured by computed tomography, and ultrasonography of the common carotid artery was used to calculate the distensibility coefficient (DC) and young’s modulus (YM). Lower DC and higher YM values indicate stiffer arteries. Pfat quartile was highly associated with demographic, behavioral, anthropometric, hemodynamic, metabolic, and disease variables in both men and women. After adjusting for height, clinical site, CVD risk factors, and medications, a 1-standard deviation (41.91 cm3) increment in Pfat was associated with a 0.00007±0.00002 1/mmHg lower DC (p=0.0002) in men and a 48.1±15.1 mmHg/mm higher YM in women (p=0.002). Additional adjustment for C-reactive protein, coronary artery calcification, and carotid intima-media thickness had only modest effects. More importantly, adjusting for body mass index and waist circumference did not significantly change the overall results.
Higher Pfat is associated with higher carotid stiffness, independent of traditional CVD risk factors and obesity.
PMCID: PMC2929306  PMID: 20153618
pericardial fat; arterial stiffness; distensibility; carotid artery
2.  Intraperitoneal Fat Is Associated With Thickening of the Thoracic Aorta in Individuals at High Risk for Cardiovascular Events 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2011;19(9):10.1038/oby.2011.188.
Increased intraperitoneal (IP) fat is associated with increased cardiovascular (CV) risk, but mechanisms for this increase in risk are not completely established. We performed this study to assess whether IP fat is associated with ascending aortic wall thickness (AOWT), a risk factor for CV events. Four hundred and forty-one consecutive participants, aged 55–85 years, with risk factors for CV events underwent magnetic resonance measures of AOWT and abdominal fat (subcutaneous (SC) fat + IP fat). For the ascending aorta, mean wall thickness of the 4th quartile of the IP fat was higher relative to the 1st quartile (P ≤ 0.001). This difference persisted after accounting for SC fat (P ≤ 0.001), as well as age, gender, height, weight, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (P < 0.03). Elevated IP fat volume is associated with an increase in ascending AOWT, a condition that promotes CV events in middle aged and elderly adults.
PMCID: PMC3814164  PMID: 21720433
Hypertension  2010;56(5):901-906.
Fat in the renal sinus (RS), a region of the kidney in which low pressure venous and lymphatic vessels are present, may indirectly influence blood pressure (BP). The purpose of this study was to assess the association between RS fat and control of BP upon receipt of antihypertensive medications.
Two hundred-five (205) participants aged 55 to 85 years at risk for cardiovascular (CV) events underwent magnetic resonance imaging assessments of abdominal and RS fat, measurement of blood pressure, and determination of the number of prescribed antihypertensive medications. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine associations between RS fat, blood pressure, and the number of prescribed antihypertensive medications.
Abdominal fat averaged (416 ± 160 cm3, median and interquartile range (IQR) of 396 cm3 and 308 to 518 cm3); intraperitoneal (IP) fat averaged (141 ± 73 cm3, median and IQR of 129 cm3 and 86 to 194 cm3); and RS fat averaged (4.6 ± 3.2 cm3, median and IQR of 4.2 cm3 and 2.2 to 6.6 cm3). After accounting for age, gender, height, body mass index (BMI), and IP fat, RS fat correlated with the number of prescribed antihypertensive medications (p=0.010), stage II hypertension (p=0.02), and renal size (p=<0.001).
In conclusion, after accounting for other body fat depots and risk factors for hypertension, renal sinus fat volume is associated with the number of prescribed antihypertensive medications and stage II hypertension. These results indicate that further studies are warranted to determine if fat accumulation in the renal sinus promotes hypertension.
PMCID: PMC3634339  PMID: 20837881
Renal sinus; intraperitoneal fat; hypertension; blood pressure; body mass index
4.  Pericardial Fat and Myocardial Perfusion in Asymptomatic Adults from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28410.
Pericardial fat has adverse effects on the surrounding vasculature. Previous studies suggest that pericardial fat may contribute to myocardial ischemia in symptomatic individuals. However, it is unknown if pericardial fat has similar effects in asymptomatic individuals.
We determined the association between pericardial fat and myocardial blood flow (MBF) in 214 adults with no prior history of cardiovascular disease from the Minnesota field center of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (43% female, 56% Caucasian, 44% Hispanic). Pericardial fat volume was measured by computed tomography. MBF was measured by MRI at rest and during adenosine-induced hyperemia. Myocardial perfusion reserve (PR) was calculated as the ratio of hyperemic to resting MBF.
Gender-stratified analyses revealed significant differences between men and women including less pericardial fat (71.9±31.3 vs. 105.2±57.5 cm3, p<0.0001) and higher resting MBF (1.12±0.23 vs. 0.93±0.19 ml/min/g, p<0.0001), hyperemic MBF (3.49±0.76 vs. 2.65±0.72 ml/min/g, p<0.0001), and PR (3.19±0.78 vs. 2.93±0.89, p = 0.03) in women. Correlations between pericardial fat and clinical and hemodynamic variables were stronger in women. In women only (p = 0.01 for gender interaction) higher pericardial fat was associated with higher resting MBF (p = 0.008). However, this association was attenuated after accounting for body mass index or rate-pressure product. There were no significant associations between pericardial fat and hyperemic MBF or PR after multivariate adjustment in either gender. In logistic regression analyses there was also no association between impaired coronary vasoreactivity, defined as having a PR <2.5, and pericardial fat in men (OR, 1.18; 95% CI, 0.82–1.70) or women (OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 0.68–1.82).
Our data fail to support an independent association between pericardial fat and myocardial perfusion in adults without symptomatic cardiovascular disease. Nevertheless, these findings highlight potentially important differences between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals with respect to the underlying subclinical disease burden.
PMCID: PMC3235122  PMID: 22174800

Results 1-4 (4)