Endocrinol Metab.  2014 Mar;29(1):1-4. 10.3803/EnM.2014.29.1.1.

Ectopic Fat Assessment Focusing on Cardiometabolic and Renal Risk

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea. limsoo@snu.ac.kr


It is well known that people with high levels of body fat are at higher risk for developing diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disorders. Since individuals who are slightly overweight, or even individuals of normal weight, can vary in body fat distribution, their metabolic profiles and the degree of association of these profiles with cardiometabolic risk factors may differ. Fat distribution might be more of a predictive factor for cardiorenometabolic risk than obesity itself, which has led researchers to investigate whether ectopic fat accumulation may partially account for the development of cardiorenometabolic disorders. In addition to visceral obesity, fat can accumulate in the liver and muscle, and these intrahepatic and intramuscular lipid stores are associated with insulin resistance and adverse metabolic phenotypes. More recently, pericardial fat, perivascular fat, and perirenal fat were found to be associated with coronary atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, and kidney damage, respectively. Thus, regional fat distribution may play a key role in understanding the development of cardiorenometabolic diseases in nonobese people.


Ectopic fat; Cardiorenometabolic risk; Imaging techniques

MeSH Terms

Adipose Tissue
Body Fat Distribution
Cardiovascular Diseases
Coronary Artery Disease
Diabetes Mellitus
Insulin Resistance
Kidney Diseases
Obesity, Abdominal
Risk Factors

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