University of Leicester
10.1136_BMJOPEN-2012-001915.pdf (2.28 MB)

Abdominal fat distribution and its relationship to brain changes: the differential effects of age on cerebellar structure and function: a cross-sectional, exploratory study.

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journal contribution
posted on 2013-11-13, 14:55 authored by M. Raschpichler, Kees Straatman, M.L. Schroeter, K. Arelin, H. Schlögl, D. Fritzsch, M. Mende, A. Pampel, Y. Böttcher, M. Stumvoll, A. Villringer, K. Mueller
Objectives: To investigate whether the metabolically important visceral adipose tissue (VAT) relates differently to structural and functional brain changes in comparison with body weight measured as body mass index (BMI). Moreover, we aimed to investigate whether these effects change with age. Design: Cross-sectional, exploratory. Setting: University Clinic, Integrative Research and Treatment Centre. Participants: We included 100 (mean BMI=26.0 kg/m², 42 women) out of 202 volunteers randomly invited by the city's registration office, subdivided into two age groups: young-to-mid-age (n=51, 20–45 years of age, mean BMI=24.9, 24 women) versus old (n=49, 65–70 years of age, mean BMI=27.0, 18 women). Main outcome measures: VAT, BMI, subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue, brain structure (grey matter density), functional brain architecture (eigenvector centrality, EC). Results: We discovered a loss of cerebellar structure with increasing VAT in the younger participants, most significantly in regions involved in motor processing. This negative correlation disappeared in the elderly. Investigating functional brain architecture showed again inverse VAT–cerebellum correlations, whereas now regions involved in cognitive and emotional processing were significant. Although we detected similar results for EC using BMI, significant age interaction for both brain structure and functional architecture was only found using VAT. Conclusions: Visceral adiposity is associated with cerebellar changes of both structure and function, whereas the regions involved contribute to motor, cognitive and emotional processes. Furthermore, these associations seem to be age dependent, with younger adults’ brains being adversely affected.



BMJ Open, 2013, 3 : e001915

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Biological Sciences/Department of Biochemistry


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PMCID: PMC3563141



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