Plasma amino acid profile is associated with visceral fat accumulation in obese Japanese subjects (Free access)
Yamakado M, Tanaka T, Nagao K
Metabolic complications associated with obesity are becoming more common among Japanese subjects. However, visceral fat accumulation is not always apparent by measuring body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference in Asian populations because of the physiological characteristics particular to those ethnicities. Excess visceral fat accumulation raises the odds ratio for developing cardiovascular disease. Thus, high-throughput determination of the amount of abdominal adipose tissue is necessary. We hypothesized that accumulating visceral fat alters the peripheral amino acid profile and that a multivariate logistic regression model of plasma free amino acids can distinguish visceral obesity. A total of 1449 Japanese subjects (985 males and 464 females) who had undergone a comprehensive health screening were enrolled in this study. The visceral fat area was determined using computed tomography imaging, and a plasma free amino acid index to identify high visceral fat areas (≥100 cm2) was developed. The sensitivity and specificity values of the generated amino acid index were 80% and 65%, respectively. In particular, the sensitivity of the generated index to identify subjects with non-apparent visceral obesity (BMI < 25 kg m−2; visceral fat area ≥ 100 cm2) was much greater than that of the waist circumference (73% vs. 46%, respectively). This index's high sensitivity and specificity may be the result of specific alterations in the patients' amino acid profiles, which were specifically correlated with the visceral fat areas and not with subcutaneous fat areas. This profile can be used as a predictor of elevated visceral obesity and a risk assessment tool for metabolic complications in Asian populations.
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