Abstract 3519: Modest Fat Gain Causes Endothelial Dysfunction In Lean Healthy Humans: A Randomized Blinded Controlled Trial
Background: Endothelial dysfunction assessed by flow mediated dilation (FMD) of the brachial artery has been identified as an independent predictor of cardiovascular events. However, whether weight gain impairs endothelial function is unknown.
Methods: A randomized blinded controlled-trial to assess the effects of weight gain on endothelial function. After a weight maintenance period supervised by an experience dietitian, volunteers were randomized to gain weight (4 kg) or maintain weight. We recruited lean (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2) healthy volunteers (no diseases, medications and non-smokers) from the community. Using ultrasound, endothelial function was measured by FMD and non-flow mediated dilation (NFMD) of the brachial artery in the early morning (6:30 a.m.). Endothelial function was measured at baseline, after fat gain at 8 weeks and after weight loss at 16 weeks for fat-gainers and at baseline and follow-up (8 weeks) for weight maintainers. Body composition techniques to measure body fat %, such as dual x-ray absorptiometry and abdominal CT scans were performed.
Results: We recruited 35 fat-gainers and 8 weight maintainers. Mean age was 29 ± 6 years and 18 (42 %) were women. There were no differences in age, anthropometric and body composition measurements, blood pressure, heart rate or apnea hypopnea index at baseline between both groups. After an average gain of 4 kg, the fat-gainer group significantly increased their total, visceral and subcutaneous fat. Brachial artery FMD and NFMD remained unchanged in weight maintainers. However, it decreaed in fat-gainers (FMD=9.1 ± 3 vs. 7.6 ± 3.2, p=0.003 and NFMD=12.0 ± 4.9 vs. 10.1 ± 6.0, p=0.01), but recovered to baseline after subjects shed the gained weight (basleline vs. recovery: FMD=9.1 ± 3 vs. 9.0 ± 3, p=NS and NFMD =12.0 ± 4.9 vs.12.6 ± 5.0, p=NS). Visceral fat gain, but not subcutaneous fat gain was significantly correlated with the decrease in brachial artery FMD (rho =−0.42, p=0.004 and rho =−0.22, p=0.15, respectively).
Conclusions: In lean healthy young subjects, modest weight gain results in impaired endothelial function, even in the absence of changes in blood pressure. Endothelial funcion recovers after weight loss. Viscerar rather than subcutaneous fat predicts endothelial dysfunction.