Fatty Liver, Abdominal Visceral Fat, and Cardiometabolic Risk Factors The Jackson Heart Study
The goal of this study was to examine whether fatty liver and abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) are jointly associated with cardiometabolic abnormalities. Black participants were from the Jackson Heart Study (n=2882, 65% women) who underwent computed tomography. Fatty liver was measured by liver attenuation in Hounsfield units (LA), and VAT was quantified volumetrically. Cross-sectional associations between LA, VAT, and cardiometabolic risk factors were assessed using linear and logistic regression, and their joint associations were further examined in 4 subgroups: high-LA/low-VAT (n=1704), low-LA/low-VAT (n=422), high-LA/high-VAT (n=436), and low-LA/high-VAT (n=320). Both LA and VAT were associated with most cardiometabolic traits (all P<0.0001), which persisted after additional adjustment for each other (LA, P<0.01-0.0001; VAT, P<0.0001). In bootstrap analyses, the regression coefficient of VAT was significantly greater than LA for triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, impaired glucose, and metabolic syndrome (P=0.009-0.0001). The interaction between LA and VAT was significant for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (P=0.002), impaired glucose (P=0.003), and metabolic syndrome (P=0.04). Among 4 subgroups, participants with higher VAT and lower LA had higher prevalence of cardiometabolic traits than those with each condition alone. Both fatty liver and VAT are independent correlates of cardiometabolic risk, but the associations are stronger for VAT than for fatty liver.