Visceral adipose tissue is the fat stored around internal organs. Its increase has been linked as a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and atherosclerosis, and metabolic diseases.
Prediction of visceral adipose tissue
Adipose tissue or fat tissue is made up of cells capable of accumulating fat, the adipocytes. This tissue has various functions such as metabolic, cushioning, protecting and holding in place internal organs and other structures of the body.
In the human body, adipose tissue is located under the skin (subcutaneous fat), around the organs (visceral fat), in the bone marrow (yellow bone marrow) and in the breasts. Specifically, visceral fat functions as a lipid reserve and provides protection. In general, men have a higher level of visceral fat due to the protective effect of estrogens during childbearing age, which decreases after menopause.
Visceral fat is located in the abdominal cavity and its excess has been directly related to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammatory diseases and other obesity-related diseases. Why abdominal fat is more harmful than other fat deposits, such as subcutaneous adipose tissue, has not been fully elucidated. Possible hypotheses point to a greater lipolytic capacity and its resistance to the antilipolytic effects of insulin, resulting in higher concentrations of circulating fatty acids. In addition, studies also point to visceral fat having a higher rate of macrophage infiltration, resulting in a proinflammatory profile that promotes insulin resistance.
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Karlsson T., Rask-Andersen M., et al. Contribution of genetics to visceral adiposity and its relation to cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Nature Medicine, 09 Sep 2019, 25(9):1390-1395
Mittal B. Subcutaneous adipose tissue & visceral adipose tissue. Indian J Med Res. 2019;149(5):571-573. doi:10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1910_18
Suárez-Cuenca, J.A., De La Peña-Sosa, G., De La Vega-Moreno, K. et al. Enlarged adipocytes from subcutaneous vs. visceral adipose tissue differentially contribute to metabolic dysfunction and atherogenic risk of patients with obesity. Sci Rep, 2021; 11, 1831.