Lean Body Mass in Obese Patients Linked to Carotid Artery Thickness

Dr.Manuel Fernández-Real MD, PhD Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) CIBERobn Obesity Hospital of GironaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr.Manuel Fernández-Real MD, PhD
Biomedical Research Institute of Girona (IDIBGI) CIBERobn
Obesity Hospital of Girona

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Obesity is an important determinant of increased cardiovascular risk. Increased fat mass has been assumed to constitute the main prominent contributor to changes in carotid intima-media thickness (c-IMT). A link among fat free mass and total blood volume, stroke volume and cardiac output has been also previously reported.

In this manuscript we describe that  carotid intima-media thickness was positively associated with lean body mass in men (r =0.328, p <0.0001) and women (r = 0.268 p =<0.0001). c-IMT values increased across lean mass quartiles (p < 0.0001).  Stepwise linear regression analysis showed that age and lean mass (but not fat mass or traditional cardiovascular risk factors) contributed to 46.2% of c-IMT variance in men (p=<0.0001).

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Increased lean mass is associated with increased carotid intima-media thickness in obese patients independently of the well-known cardiovascular risk factors.

Changes in body composition might induce adaptive changes in systemic hemodynamics.

As cardiac output is closely related to body size, mostly as a result of metabolic requirements of fat-free body mass, the relationship between blood pressure and lean mass of obese individuals might be attributable to the relative increase in metabolically active fat-free mass that accompanies the increase in body weight.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Obesity-related changes in carotid intima-media thickness might represent not only preclinical atherosclerosis but also a physiological adaptation to changes in systemic hemodynamics. If this is the case, the actual meaning of this measurement in a clinical context of disease becomes more questionable.


Lean mass, and not fat mass, is an independent determinant of carotid intima media thickness in obese subjects


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