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Adiposity is associated with structural properties of the adolescent brain

Authors
Journal
NeuroImage
1053-8119
Publisher
Elsevier
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.09.030
Keywords
  • Visceral Fat
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat
  • Obesity
  • Total Body Fat
  • Fat Mass
  • Mri Signal Intensity
  • Mri Signal Contrast
  • Mtr
Disciplines
  • Engineering
  • Medicine

Abstract

Abstract Obesity, a major risk factor for cardiometabolic disease, is associated with variations in a number of structural properties in the adult brain, as assessed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In this study, we investigated the cross-sectional relationship between visceral fat (VF), total body fat (TBF) and three MRI parameters in the brains of typically developing adolescents: (i) T1-weighted (T1W) signal intensity; (ii) T1W signal contrast between white matter (WM) and gray matter (GM); and (iii) magnetization transfer ratio (MTR). In a community-based sample of 970 adolescents (12–18years old, 466 males), VF was quantified using MRI, and total body fat was measured using a multifrequency bioimpedance. T1W images of the brain were used to determine signal intensity in lobar GM and WM, as well as WM:GM signal contrast. A magnetization transfer (MT) sequence of MTON and MTOFF was used to obtain MTR in GM and WM. We found that both larger volumes of VF and more TBF were independently associated with higher signal intensity in WM and higher WM:GM signal contrast, as well as higher MTR in both GM and WM. These relationships were independent of a number of potential confounders, including age, sex, puberty stage, household income and height. Our results suggest that both visceral fat and fat deposited elsewhere in the body are independently associated with structural properties of the adolescent brain. We speculate that these relationships suggest the presence of adiposity-related variations in phospholipid composition of brain lipids.

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