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OBJECTIVE - Pericardial adipose tissue (PAT), a regional fat depot that surrounds the heart, is associated with an unfavorable cardiometabolic risk factor profile. The associations among PAT, cardiometabolic risk factors, and coronary artery calcification (CAC) and abdominal aortic artery calcification (AAC) in African American populations have not been explored.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - A total of 1,414 African Americans (35% men; mean +/- SD age 58 +/- 11 years) drawn from the Jackson Heart Study (JHS) underwent multidetector computed tomography assessment of abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and PAT between 2007 and 2009. Cardiometabolic risk factors, CAC, and AAC were examined in relation to increments of PAT and VAT.
RESULTS - PAT was significantly correlated with BMI, waist circumference, and VAT (r = 0.35, 0.46, and 0.69; all P < 0.0001). PAT (per 1-SD increase) was associated with elevated levels of systolic blood pressure (P < 0.04), fasting glucose, triglycerides, and C-reactive protein and lower levels of HDL (all P values<0.0001). PAT was also associated with metabolic syndrome (odds ratio [OR] 1.89; P < 0.0001), hypertension (1.48; P < 0.0006), and diabetes (1.40; P < 0.04); all associations were diminished after further adjustment for VAT (most P > 0.05). However, the association of PAT with CAC but not with AAC remained significant (OR 1.34 [95% CI 1.10-1.64]; P < 0.004) after multivariable and VAT adjustment.
CONCLUSIONS - PAT is significantly correlated with most cardiometabolic risk factors and CAC in the JHS cohort. The results suggest that PAT is an important VAT depot that may exert a local effect on the coronary vasculature.