Abstract 1564 3D Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Body Fat Distribution in Obese Twins From the TwinsUK Cohort: A Comparative Study to Current Cardiovascular Risk Assessment and Risk Scores
Background: Major cardiovascular events often occur in individuals without known cardiovascular disease. The accurate identification of those at risk is of major importance in public health.
Purpose: The evaluation of 3D water fat imaging in identical (homozygous) twin pairs in comparison with newly developed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) allowing non-invasive risk assessment of the cardiovascular system.
Method: Identical twin pairs (n=26) with differences in BMI (mean difference: 6.3, range: 1.6 –14.7, p<0.05) were imaged with MRI to assess body fat distribution (three point Dixon method, fig. A1–3 and B1–3⇓), pulse-wave velocity (representing arterial stiffness) and coronary artery wall thickness and contrast uptake (fig. C1, 2 and D1, 2⇓). Framingham risk scores (FRS) were correlated to imaging findings.
Results: Intra-pair analysis revealed a higher visceral fat content (9.9 vs. 7.7 u, p <0.05, fig. A3 vs. B3⇓), a tendency towards stiffer vessel walls (7.4 vs. 6.6, n. s.) and increased coronary artery wall contrast uptake (representing potentially increased plaque burden, red arrows fig. C1,2 vs. D1,2⇓) in twins with higher FRS.
Conclusion: Higher visceral fat volume was associated with increased cardiovascular risk. As the Twins have identical genes this cannot be explained by a purely genetically inherited process and could involve epigenetic mechanisms.