[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adipocyte differentiation and its impact on restriction or expansion of particular adipose tissue depots have physiological and pathophysiological significance in view of the different functions of these depots. Brown or "beige" fat [brown adipose tissue (BAT)] expansion can enhance thermogenesis, lipid oxidation, insulin sensitivity, and glucose tolerance; conversely expanded visceral fat [visceral white adipose tissue (VAT)] is associated with insulin resistance, low grade inflammation, dyslipidemia, and cardiometabolic risk. The largest depot, subcutaneous white fat [subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SAT)], has important beneficial characteristics including storage of lipid "out of harms way" and secretion of adipokines, especially leptin and adiponectin, with positive metabolic effects including lipid oxidation, energy utilization, enhanced insulin action, and an anti-inflammatory role. The absence of these functions in lipodystrophies leads to major metabolic disturbances. An ability to expand white adipose tissue adipocyte differentiation would seem an important defense mechanism against the detrimental effects of energy excess and limit harmful accumulation of lipid in "ectopic" sites, such as liver and muscle. Adipocyte differentiation involves a transcriptional cascade with PPARγ being most important in SAT but less so in VAT, with increased angiogenesis also critical. The transcription factor, Islet1, is fairly specific to VAT and in vitro inhibits adipocyte differentiation. The physiological importance of Islet1 requires further study. Basic control of differentiation is similar in BAT but important differences include the effect of PGC-1α on mitochondrial biosynthesis and upregulation of UCP1; also PRDM16 plays a pivotal role in expression of the BAT phenotype. Modulation of the capacity or function of these different adipose tissue depots, by altering adipocyte differentiation or other means, holds promise for interventions that can be helpful in human disease, particularly cardiometabolic disorders associated with the world wide explosion of obesity.
Frontiers in Endocrinology 01/2015; 6:1. DOI:10.3389/fendo.2015.00001
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: L-glutamine is an efficacious glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 secretagogue in vitro. When administered with a meal, glutamine increases GLP-1 and insulin excursions and reduces postprandial glycaemia in type 2 diabetes patients. The aim of the study was to assess the efficacy and safety of daily glutamine supplementation with or without the dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP)-4 inhibitor sitagliptin in well-controlled type 2 diabetes patients.
Type 2 diabetes patients treated with metformin (n = 13, 9 men) with baseline glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) 7.1±0.3% (54±4 mmol/mol) received glutamine (15 g bd)+ sitagliptin (100 mg/d) or glutamine (15 g bd) + placebo for 4 weeks in a randomized crossover study.
HbA1c (P = 0.007) and fructosamine (P = 0.02) decreased modestly, without significant time-treatment interactions (both P = 0.4). Blood urea increased (P<0.001) without a significant time-treatment interaction (P = 0.8), but creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) were unchanged (P≥0.5). Red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and albumin modestly decreased (P≤0.02), without significant time-treatment interactions (P≥0.4). Body weight and plasma electrolytes remained unchanged (P≥0.2).
Daily oral supplementation of glutamine with or without sitagliptin for 4 weeks decreased glycaemia in well-controlled type 2 diabetes patients, but was also associated with mild plasma volume expansion.
PLoS ONE 11/2014; 9(11):e113366. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0113366 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While adipogenesis is controlled by a cascade of transcription factors, the global gene expression profiles in the early phase
of adipogenesis are not well defined. Using microarray analysis of gene expression in 3T3-L1 cells, we have identified evidence
for the activity of 2,568 genes during the early phase of adipocyte differentiation. One of these, the ISL1 gene, was of interest
since its expression was markedly upregulated 1 h after initiation of differentiation, with a subsequent rapid decline. Overexpression
of ISL1 at early times during adipocyte differentiation but not at later times was found to profoundly inhibit differentiation.
This was accompanied by moderate downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) levels, substantial
downregulation of PPARγ downstream genes, and downregulation of bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4) levels in preadipocytes. Readdition of BMP4
overcame the inhibitory effect of ISL1 on the expression of PPARγ but not aP2, a gene downstream of PPARγ, and BMP4 also partially rescued ISL1 inhibition of adipogenesis, an effect which is additive with rosiglitazone. These
results suggest that ISL1 is intimately involved in early regulation of adipogenesis, modulating PPARγ expression and activity
via BMP4-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Our time course gene expression survey sets the stage for further studies
to explore other early and immediate regulators.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 07/2014; DOI:10.1128/MCB.00583-14 · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is associated with lipid-related changes and insulin resistance; the latter predicts response to antiviral therapy, liver disease progression and the risk of diabetes. We sought to determine whether insulin sensitivity improves following CHC viral eradication after antiviral therapy and whether this is accompanied by changes in fat depots or adipokine levels. We compared 8 normoglycaemic men with CHC (genotype 1 or 3) before and at least 6 months post viral eradication and 15 hepatitis C antibody negative controls using an intravenous glucose tolerance test and two-step hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp with [6,6-2H2] glucose to assess peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity. Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy quantified abdominal fat compartments, liver and intramyocellular lipid. Peripheral insulin sensitivity improved (glucose infusion rate during high-dose insulin increased from 10.1 ± 1.6 to 12 ± 2.1 mg/kg/min/, P = 0.025), with no change in hepatic insulin response following successful viral eradication, without any accompanying change in muscle, liver or abdominal fat depots. There was corresponding improvement in incremental glycaemic response to intravenous glucose (pretreatment: 62.1 ± 8.3 vs post-treatment: 56.1 ± 8.5 mm, P = 0.008). Insulin sensitivity after viral clearance was comparable to matched controls without CHC. Post therapy, liver enzyme levels decreased but, interestingly, levels of glucagon, fatty acid–binding protein and lipocalin-2 remained elevated. Eradication of the hepatitis C virus improves insulin sensitivity without alteration in fat depots, adipokine or glucagon levels, consistent with a direct link of the virus with insulin resistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium cycling is integral to muscle performance during the rapid muscle contraction and relaxation of high-intensity exercise. Ca(2+) handling is altered by diabetes mellitus, but has never been investigated in human skeletal muscle. We investigated effects of high-intensity exercise and sprint training on skeletal muscle Ca(2+) regulation among men and women with type 1 diabetes (T1D, n=8, 3F, 5M) and matched non-diabetic controls (CON, n=8, 3F, 5M). Secondarily, we examined sex differences in Ca(2+) regulation. Subjects undertook 7 weeks of thrice-weekly cycle sprint training. Before and after training, performance was measured, and blood and muscle were sampled at rest and after high-intensity exercise. In T1D, higher Ca(2+)-ATPase activity (+28%) and Ca(2+) uptake (+21%) than in CON were evident across both times and days (P<0.05), but performance was similar. In T1D, resting Ca(2+)-ATPase activity correlated with work performed until exhaustion (r = 0.7, P<0.01). Ca(2+)-ATPase activity, but not Ca(2+) uptake, was lower (-24%, P<0.05) among the women across both times and days. Intense exercise did not alter Ca(2+)-ATPase activity in T1D or CON. However, sex differences were evident: Ca(2+)-ATPase was reduced with exercise among men but increased among women across both days (time-by-sex interaction, P<0.05). Sprint training reduced Ca(2+)-ATPase (-8%, P<0.05), but not Ca(2+) uptake, in T1D and CON. In summary, skeletal muscle Ca(2+) resequestration capacity was increased in T1D, but performance was not greater than CON. Sprint training reduced Ca(2+)-ATPase in T1D and CON. Sex differences in Ca(2+)-ATPase activity were evident and may be linked with fibre type proportion differences.
The Journal of Physiology 12/2013; 592(3). DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2013.261172 · 4.54 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human adiposity has long been associated with insulin resistance and increased cardiovascular risk, and abdominal adiposity is considered particularly adverse. Intra-abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance, possibly mediated by greater lipolytic activity, lower adiponectin levels, resistance to leptin, and increased inflammatory cytokines, although the latter contribution is less clear. Liver lipid is also closely associated with, and likely to be an important contributor to, insulin resistance, but it may also be in part the consequence of the lipogenic pathway of insulin action being up-regulated by hyperinsulinemia and unimpaired signaling. Again, intramyocellular triglyceride is associated with muscle insulin resistance, but anomalies include higher intramyocellular triglyceride in insulin-sensitive athletes and women (vs men). Such issues could be explained if the "culprits" were active lipid moieties such as diacylglycerol and ceramide species, dependent more on lipid metabolism and partitioning than triglyceride amount.Subcutaneous fat, especially gluteofemoral, appears metabolically protective, illustrated by insulin resistance and dyslipidemia in patients with lipodystrophy. However, some studies suggest that deep sc abdominal fat may have adverse properties.Pericardial and perivascular fat relate to atheromatous disease, but not clearly to insulin resistance.There has been recent interest in recognizable brown adipose tissue in adult humans and its possible augmentation by a hormone, irisin, from exercising muscle. Brown adipose tissue is metabolically active, oxidizes fatty acids, and generates heat but, because of its small and variable quantities, its metabolic importance in humans under usual living conditions is still unclear.Further understanding of specific roles of different lipid depots may help new approaches to control obesity and its metabolic sequelae.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Muscle insulin resistance, one of the earliest defects associated with type 2 diabetes, involves changes in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt network. The relative contribution of obesity vs insulin resistance to perturbations in this pathway is poorly understood. METHODS: We used phosphospecific antibodies against targets in the Akt signalling network to study insulin action in muscle from lean, overweight/obese and type 2 diabetic individuals before and during a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp. RESULTS: Insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation at Thr309 and Ser474 was highly correlated with whole-body insulin sensitivity. In contrast, impaired phosphorylation of Akt substrate of 160 kDa (AS160; also known as TBC1D4) was associated with adiposity, but not insulin sensitivity. Neither insulin sensitivity nor obesity was associated with defective insulin-dependent phosphorylation of forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factor. In view of the resultant basal hyperinsulinaemia, we predicted that this selective response within the Akt pathway might lead to hyperactivation of those processes that were spared. Indeed, the expression of genes targeted by FOXO was downregulated in insulin-resistant individuals. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These results highlight non-linearity in Akt signalling and suggest that: (1) the pathway from Akt to glucose transport is complex; and (2) pathways, particularly FOXO, that are not insulin-resistant, are likely to be hyperactivated in response to hyperinsulinaemia. This facet of Akt signalling may contribute to multiple features of the metabolic syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In most humans, obesity and insulin resistance coexist. However, a unique group of obese individuals, who exhibit better insulin sensitivity than expected for their adiposity, has been the focus of recent research interest. We critically examine cross-sectional and lifestyle intervention studies in obese humans classified as 'insulin-sensitive' versus 'insulin-resistant' and review the few longitudinal studies comparing rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality in these groups of individuals. We suggest that reduced deposition of fat, particularly of bioactive lipid intermediates, in muscle and liver is potentially protective. We propose that dynamic interventional studies in insulin-sensitive obese humans may increase understanding of the metabolic factors that play a role in obesity-associated insulin resistance in humans.
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 03/2012; 23(3):116-24. DOI:10.1016/j.tem.2011.12.005 · 8.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Impaired glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) secretion or response may contribute to ineffective insulin release in type 2 diabetes. The conditionally essential amino acid glutamine stimulates GLP-1 secretion in vitro and in vivo. In a randomized, crossover study, we evaluated the effect of oral glutamine, with or without sitagliptin (SIT), on postprandial glycemia and GLP-1 concentration in 15 type 2 diabetes patients (glycated hemoglobin 6.5 ± 0.6%). Participants ingested a low-fat meal (5% fat) after receiving either water (control), 30 g l-glutamine (Gln-30), 15 g L-glutamine (Gln-15), 100 mg SIT, or 100 mg SIT and 15 g L-glutamine (SIT+Gln-15). Studies were conducted 1-2 wk apart. Blood was collected at baseline and postprandially for 180 min for measurement of circulating glucose, insulin, C-peptide, glucagon, and total and active GLP-1. Gln-30 and SIT+Gln-15 reduced the early (t = 0-60 min) postprandial glycemic response compared with control. All Gln treatments enhanced the postprandial insulin response from t = 60-180 min but had no effect on the C-peptide response compared with control. The postprandial glucagon concentration was increased by Gln-30 and Gln-15 compared with control, but the insulin:glucagon ratio was not affected by any treatment. In contrast to Gln-30, which tended to increase the total GLP-1 AUC, SIT tended to decrease the total GLP-1 AUC relative to control (both P = 0.03). Gln-30 and SIT increased the active GLP-1 AUC compared with control (P = 0.008 and P = 0.01, respectively). In summary, Gln-30 decreased the early postprandial glucose response, enhanced late postprandial insulinemia, and augmented postprandial active GLP-1 responses compared with control. These findings suggest that glutamine may be a novel agent for stimulating GLP-1 concentration and limiting postprandial glycemia in type 2 diabetes.
Journal of Nutrition 07/2011; 141(7):1233-8. DOI:10.3945/jn.111.139824 · 4.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is more closely linked to insulin resistance than subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT). We conducted a quantitative analysis of the secretomes of VAT and SAT to identify differences in adipokine secretion that account for the adverse metabolic consequences of VAT.
We used lectin affinity chromatography followed by comparison of isotope-labeled amino acid incorporation rates to quantitate relative differences in the secretomes of VAT and SAT explants. Because adipose tissue is composed of multiple cell types, which may contribute to depot-specific differences in secretion, we isolated preadipocytes and microvascular endothelial cells (MVECs) and compared their secretomes to those from whole adipose tissue.
Although there were no discrete depot-specific differences in the secretomes from whole adipose tissue, preadipocytes, or MVECS, VAT exhibited an overall higher level of protein secretion than SAT. More proteins were secreted in twofold greater abundance from VAT explants compared with SAT explants (59% versus 21%), preadipocytes (68% versus 0%), and MVECs (62% versus 15%). The number of proteins in the whole adipose tissue secretome was greater than the sum of its cellular constituents. Finally, almost 50% of the adipose tissue secretome was composed of factors with a role in angiogenesis.
VAT has a higher secretory capacity than SAT, and this difference is an intrinsic feature of its cellular components. In view of the number of angiogenic factors in the adipose tissue secretome, we propose that VAT represents a more readily expandable tissue depot.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is predicted by central obesity and circulating adipokines regulating inflammation. We hypothesized that visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in T2D expresses greater levels of proinflammatory molecules. Paired samples of subcutaneous (SAT) and VAT were excised at elective surgery (n = 16, 6 with T2D, n = 8 age- and gender- matched controls). Metabolic parameters were measured in the fasted state: body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and insulin action by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Adipose tissue mRNA gene expression was measured by quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR. Subjects with T2D had higher VAT expression of molecules regulating inflammation (tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP), interleukin-8 (IL-8)). Fasting glucose related to VAT expression of TNFalpha, MIP, serum amyloid A (SAA), IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-8, and IL-8 receptor. Abdominal fat mass was related to VAT expression of MIP, SAA, cAMP response element-binding protein (CREBP), IL-1beta, and IL-8. Insulin action related inversely to VAT complement C3 expression only. There were depot-specific differences in expression of serum T2D predictors: VAT expressed higher levels of complement C3; SAT expressed higher levels of retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4), adiponectin, and leptin. In summary, VAT in T2D expresses higher levels of adipokines involved in inflammation. VAT expression of these molecules is related to fasting glucose and insulin action. Increased production of these proinflammatory molecules by VAT may explain the links observed between visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes risk.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis C (CHC) is associated with insulin resistance (IR), liver steatosis (genotype 3), and increased diabetes risk. The site and mechanisms of IR are unclear.
We compared cross-sectionally 29 nonobese, normoglycemic males with CHC (genotypes 1 and 3) to 15 adiposity and age-matched controls using a 2-step hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp with [6,6-(2)H(2)] glucose to assess insulin sensitivity in liver and peripheral tissues and (1)H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate liver and intramyocellular lipid. Insulin secretion was assessed after intravenous glucose.
Insulin secretion was not impaired in CHC. Peripheral insulin sensitivity was 35% higher in controls vs CHC (P < .001) during high-dose (264.3 +/- 25 [standard error] mU/L) insulin (P < .001); this was negatively associated with viral load (R(2) = .12; P = .05) and subcutaneous fat (R(2) = .41; P < .001). IR was similar in both genotypes despite 3-fold increased hepatic fat in genotype 3 (P < .001). Hepatic glucose production (P = .25) and nonesterified free fatty acid (P = .84) suppression with insulin were not different between CHC and controls inferring no adipocyte IR, and suggesting IR is mainly in muscle. In CHC, intramyocellular lipid was nonsignificantly increased but levels of glucagon (73.8 +/- 3.6 vs 52.8 +/- 3.1 ng/mL; P < .001), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (3.1 +/- 0.1 vs 2.3 +/- 0.1 ng/mL; P < .001), and Lipocalin-2 (36.4 +/- 2.9 vs 19.6 +/- 1.6 ng/mL; P < .001) were elevated.
CHC represents a unique infective/inflammatory model of IR, which is predominantly in muscle, correlates with subcutaneous, not visceral, adiposity, and is independent of liver fat.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: FTO gene variants are linked to obesity. We tested for site-specific differences in FTO gene expression in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue (SAT and VAT, respectively) from individuals with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) and the relationships between fasting glucose, in vivo insulin action, and measures of adiposity with FTO gene expression in adipose tissue.
Paired subcutaneous and visceral fat were excised at elective surgery in n = 16 subjects (six with T2D, age-matched). Metabolic parameters were measured in fasted state; body composition by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry; and insulin action by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp. Adipose tissue mRNA gene expression was determined by quantitative RT-PCR.
Subjects with T2D had SAT and VAT FTO mRNA expression similar to controls. There was no depot specificity between SAT and VAT FTO mRNA expression. Insulin action did not relate to SAT or VAT FTO mRNA expression. SAT FTO mRNA expression was related to fasting glucose and waist circumference only. SAT and VAT FTO mRNA expression was not related to direct measures of total or central abdominal adiposity. SAT FTO mRNA expression was related to SAT tumor necrosis factor-alpha and nuclear factor-kappaB mRNA expression.
FTO gene expression is not increased in SAT and VAT in T2D and does not relate to insulin action. The links between FTO and metabolic complications of diabetes require further elucidation.
Obesity Surgery 09/2009; 20(1):108-13. DOI:10.1007/s11695-009-9952-1 · 3.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several circulating cytokines are increased with obesity and may combine with the influence of visceral fat to generate insulin resistance, inflammation, and fibrosis in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Little information exists in NAFLD about three recently recognized tissue-derived cytokines that are all lipid-binding and involved in inflammation, namely adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (AFABP), lipocalin-2, and retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4). We examined the association of these three peptides with hepatic steatosis, inflammation, and fibrosis plus indices of adiposity, insulin resistance, and dyslipidaemia in 100 subjects with NAFLD and 129 matched controls. Levels of AFABP and lipocalin-2, but not RBP4, were significantly elevated in NAFLD versus control (AFABP, 33.5 +/- 14.4 versus 23.1 +/- 12.1 ng/mL [P < 0.001]; lipocalin-2, 63.2 +/- 26 versus 48.6 +/- 20 ng/mL [P < 0.001]) and correlated with indices of adiposity. AFABP correlated with indices of subcutaneous rather than visceral fat. AFABP alone distinguished steatohepatitis from simple steatosis (P= 0.02). Elevated AFABP independently predicted increasing inflammation and fibrosis, even when insulin resistance and visceral fat were considered; this applied to lobular inflammation and ballooning (odds ratio 1.4, confidence interval 1.0-1.8) and fibrosis stage (odds ratio 1.3, confidence interval 1.0-1.7) (P < or = 0.05 for all). None of the cytokines correlated with steatosis grade. AFABP levels correlated with insulin resistance (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance) in controls and NAFLD, whereas lipocalin-2 and RBP4 only correlated positively with insulin resistance in controls. CONCLUSION: Circulating AFABP, produced by adipocytes and macrophages, and lipocalin-2, produced by multiple tissues, are elevated and may contribute to the metabolic syndrome in NAFLD. AFABP levels, which correlate with subcutaneous, but not visceral fat, independently predict inflammation and fibrosis in NAFLD and may have a direct pathogenic link to disease progression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate sprint-training effects on muscle metabolism during exercise in subjects with (type 1 diabetic group) and without (control group) type 1 diabetes.
Eight subjects with type 1 diabetes and seven control subjects, matched for age, BMI, and maximum oxygen uptake (Vo(2peak)), undertook 7 weeks of sprint training. Pretraining, subjects cycled to exhaustion at 130% Vo(2peak). Posttraining subjects performed an identical test. Vastus lateralis biopsies at rest and immediately after exercise were assayed for metabolites, high-energy phosphates, and enzymes. Arterialized venous blood drawn at rest and after exercise was analyzed for lactate and [H(+)]. Respiratory measures were obtained on separate days during identical tests and during submaximal tests before and after training.
Pretraining, maximal resting activities of hexokinase, citrate synthase, and pyruvate dehydrogenase did not differ between groups. Muscle lactate accumulation with exercise was higher in type 1 diabetic than nondiabetic subjects and corresponded to indexes of glycemia (A1C, fasting plasma glucose); however, glycogenolytic and glycolytic rates were similar. Posttraining, at rest, hexokinase activity increased in type 1 diabetic subjects; in both groups, citrate synthase activity increased and pyruvate dehydrogenase activity decreased; during submaximal exercise, fat oxidation was higher; and during intense exercise, peak ventilation and carbon dioxide output, plasma lactate and [H(+)], muscle lactate, glycogenolytic and glycolytic rates, and ATP degradation were lower in both groups.
High-intensity exercise training was well tolerated, reduced metabolic destabilization (of lactate, H(+), glycogenolysis/glycolysis, and ATP) during intense exercise, and enhanced muscle oxidative metabolism in young adults with type 1 diabetes. The latter may have clinically important health benefits.
Diabetes care 09/2008; 31(11):2097-102. DOI:10.2337/dc08-0329 · 8.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Visceral obesity is intimately associated with metabolic disease and adverse health outcomes. However, a direct association between increasing amounts of visceral fat and end-organ inflammation and scarring has not been demonstrated. We examined the association between visceral fat and liver inflammation in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to delineate the importance of visceral fat to progressive steatohepatitis and hence the inflammatory pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome. We undertook a cross-sectional, proof of concept study in 38 consecutive adults with NAFLD at a tertiary liver clinic. All subjects had a complete physical examination, anthropometric assessment, and fasting blood tests on the day of liver biopsy. Abdominal fat volumes were assessed by magnetic resonance imaging within 2 weeks of liver biopsy. The extent of hepatic inflammation and fibrosis augmented incrementally with increases in visceral fat (P < 0.01). For each 1% increase in visceral fat, the odds ratio for increasing liver inflammation and fibrosis was 2.4 (confidence interval [CI]: 1.3-4.2) and 3.5 (CI: 1.7-7.1), respectively. Visceral fat remained an independent predictor of advanced steatohepatitis (odds ratio [OR] 2.1, CI: 1.1-4.2, P = 0.05) and fibrosis (OR 2.9, CI: 1.4-6.3, P = 0.006) even when controlled for insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, which correlated with visceral fat, also independently predicted increasing liver inflammation. Visceral fat was associated with all components of the metabolic syndrome. Conclusion: Visceral fat is directly associated with liver inflammation and fibrosis independent of insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. Visceral fat should therefore be a central target for future interventions in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and indeed all metabolic disease.