Peri-aortic fat, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and aortic calcification: the Framingham Heart Study.

Atherosclerosis

PubMedID: 20152980

Lehman SJ, Massaro JM, Schlett CL, O'donnell CJ, Hoffmann U, Fox CS. Peri-aortic fat, cardiovascular disease risk factors, and aortic calcification: the Framingham Heart Study. Atherosclerosis. 2010;210(2):656-61.
OBJECTIVE
Perivascular fat through the secretion of paracrine and pro-inflammatory mediators may play a role in obesity-mediated vascular disease. We sought to examine associations between adipose tissue depots immediately surrounding the thoracic aorta, metabolic risk factors, and vascular calcification.

METHODS
In participants free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort who underwent computed tomography (n=1067, mean age 59 years, 56.1% women), thoracic peri-aortic fat depots were quantified. Visceral abdominal tissue (VAT) and calcification of the thoracic and abdominal aorta were also measured.

RESULTS
Peri-aortic fat depots were correlated with body mass index, waist circumference (WC), VAT (all p<0.0001), hypertension (p=0.007), low HDL (p<0.0001), serum triglycerides (p<0.0001), impaired fasting glucose (p=0.005), and diabetes (p=0.02). These associations generally remained significant after adjustment for BMI and WC (all p-values<0.05), but not after VAT adjustment. Thoracic aortic fat was associated with thoracic calcification in models containing VAT (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.01-1.71, p=0.04), but was not significant after adjustment for CVD risk factors (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.88-1.51, p=0.30). Thoracic aortic fat, however, was associated with abdominal aortic calcification (OR 1.48, 95% CI 1.11-1.98, p=0.008) and coronary artery calcification (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.09-1.98, p=0.001) even in models including CVD risk factors and VAT.

CONCLUSIONS
Thoracic peri-aortic fat is associated with measures of adiposity, metabolic risk factors, and coronary and abdominal aortic calcification.