Higher visceral fat is associated with lower cerebral N-acetyl-aspartate ratios in middle-aged adults

Sonya Kaur, Alex C. Birdsill, Kayla Steward, Evan Pasha, Peter Kruzliak, Hirofumi Tanaka, Andreana P. Haley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Excessive adipose tissue, particularly with a central distribution, consists of visceral fat, which is metabolically active and could impinge upon central nervous system functioning. The aim of the current study was to examine levels of visceral adiposity in relation to key cerebral metabolite ratios localized in the occipitoparietal grey matter. Seventy-three adults, aged between 40 and 60 years, underwent structural magnetic resonance imaging and single voxel 1H Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (1H MRS). Visceral fat was assessed using Dual Energy X Ray Absorptiometry (DXA). Individuals with higher visceral fat mass and volume had significantly lower ratios of N-acetyl-aspartate to total creatine (phosphocreatine + creatine, PCr + Cr) (NAA/PCr + Cr) (β = −0.29, p = 0.03, β = −0.28, p = 0.04). They also had significantly higher ratios of myo-inositol to total creatine (mI/PCr + Cr) (β = 0.36, p = 0.01, β = 0.36, p = 0.01). Visceral fat mass and volume were not significantly related to ratios of glutamate to total creatine (Glu/PCr + Cr). While future studies are necessary, these results indicate central adiposity is associated with metabolic changes that could impinge upon the central nervous system in middle age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-733
Number of pages7
JournalMetabolic Brain Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • H-MRS
  • Neurochemistry
  • Obesity
  • Visceral fat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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