Role of visceral adipose tissue in aging

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

110 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Visceral fat (VF) accretion is a hallmark of aging in humans. Epidemiologic studies have implicated abdominal obesity as a major risk factor for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and death. Methods: Studies utilizing novel rodent models of visceral obesity and surgical strategies in humans have been undertaken to determine if subcutaneous (SC) abdominal or VF are causally linked to age-related diseases. Results: Specific depletion or expansion of the VF depot using genetic or surgical tools in rodents has been shown to have direct effects on disease risk. In contrast, surgically removing large quantities of SC fat does not consistently improve metabolic parameters in humans or rodents, while benefits were observed with SC fat expansion in mice, suggesting that SC fat accrual is not an important contributor to metabolic decline. There is also compelling evidence in humans that abdominal obesity is a stronger risk factor for mortality risk than general obesity. Likewise, we have shown that surgical removal of VF improves mean and maximum lifespan in rats, providing the first causal evidence that VF depletion may be an important underlying cause of improved lifespan with caloric restriction. General significance: This review provides both corollary and causal evidence for the importance of accounting for body fat distribution, and specifically VF, when assessing disease and mortality risk. Given the hazards of VF accumulation on health, treatment strategies aimed at selectively depleting VF should be considered as a viable tool to effectively reduce disease risk in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1123
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Volume1790
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009

Keywords

  • Longevity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Restriction
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Role of visceral adipose tissue in aging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this