- Oral presentation
- Open Access
The role of peri-aortic fat in aortic atherosclerosis
© Kylintireas et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2009
- Published: 28 January 2009
- Visceral Adipose Tissue
- Plaque Index
- Turbo Spin Echo
- Aortic Distensibility
- Aortic Atherosclerosis
Recent data suggest that perivascular fat is metabolically active and may play a role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis mediated by the paracrine action of the adipokines it produces. MRI offers the unique capability for clear depiction and accurate quantification of adipose tissue alongside an effective non invasive and radiation free assessment of both early and advanced atherosclerotic effects on the vasculature.
We investigated the relationship between perivascular adipose tissue and atherosclerosis-related structural and functional changes of the vasculature in an elderly population at high cardiovascular risk.
Fifty elderly subjects [mean age = 65 (± 8), 16/50 = 32% women] with at least one major cardiovascular risk factor (smoking, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia) underwent MRI (1.5 T Siemens Sonata) for abdominal and peri-aortic adipose tissue quantification and aortic atherosclerosis assesment. A Water Suppression (WS) T1 weighted (T1W) Turbo Spin Echo (TSE) multi-slice sequence was used for visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) measurement.
Proton density weighted fat saturation black blood turbo spin echo (TSE) cross-sectional images covering the descending thoracic aorta (figure 1a) were used for atheroma burden measurements (expressed as plaque index (PI) = cross-sectional vessel wall area/total cross-sectional vascular area).
Aortic distensibility was assessed from breath-hold ECG-gated, steady state free precession (SSFP) images through the thoracic descending aorta. Distensibility was calculated as the relative change in area divided by peripheral pulse pressure.
These results suggest a pathophysiological link between peri-vascular adiposity and the atherosclerotic process in the underlying vessel. MRI is an effective tool in depicting and quantifying PVAT. Further, interventional and analytical studies are required to elucidate this relationship.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.