Altered body composition has been suggested as a major factor for the high prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). The contributions of visceral adipose tissue (VAT), trunk subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and the VAT/SAT ratio to these metabolic derangements in SCI are poorly defined. Thirteen individuals with traumatic motor complete SCI underwent a metabolic study after overnight fasting to measure plasma glucose, insulin, and lipid concentrations. Fast spin echo magnetic resonance imaging was used to quantify the average cross-sectional area (CSA), volumes, and percentages of VAT and SAT across multiaxial slices. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was performed to measure whole-body fat-free mass and fat mass. Visceral adipose tissue CSA was positively related to fasting plasma glucose (r = 0.77, P = .002) and to the ratio of cholesterol to high-density lipoproteins (HDL-C) (r = 0.71, P = .006). Visceral adipose tissue volume was related to total cholesterol (r = 0.57, P = .043) and to low-density lipoproteins (r = 0.59, P = .032). Trunk %SAT was negatively related to glucose concentration and area under the curve (both, r = -0.61, P = .026). Fasting plasma insulin was negatively related to the VAT CSA and VAT/SAT ratio (both, r = -0.57, P = .043). Partial correlations showed a negative association between trunk %SAT and glucose area under the curve (r = -0.61, P = .02) and a positive association with HDL-C (r = 0.64, P = .033). The findings suggest that an increase in VAT, SAT, and VAT/SAT is associated with the adverse metabolic profile commonly seen in individuals with SCI. Trunk %SAT is associated with a reduced risk of glucose intolerance and an increased HDL-C.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism