Heterogeneity in subcutaneous adipose tissue morphology and metabolic complications in overweight and obese women

Gracie Vargas, Manisha Chandalia, Yongquan Jiang, Himara Davila, Massoud Motamedi, Nicola Abate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to assess morphological features of intact adipose tissue (AT) ex vivo from both subcutaneous (s.c.) abdominal and gluteal areas using a novel approach of multiphoton autofluorescence microscopy (MPAM) combined with second harmonic generation microscopy (SHGM), and to assess the relationship between morphological features in the two AT sites and insulin resistance to peripheral glucose disposal. Method: This study was a cross-sectional evaluation of AT morphology feature and peripheral insulin resistance. Subjects: Fourteen overweight/obese premenopausal women underwent body composition studies, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps, and needle biopsy of both the s.c. abdominal and gluteal AT areas. MPAM combined with SHGM was used to measure adipocyte maximal diameter and collagen fiber bundle thickness within a sampled image volume after three-dimensional visualization. Results: Higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with larger adipocyte diameter in s.c. abdominal, but not gluteal, AT. Higher adipocyte diameter was associated with higher pericellular collagen thickness. Adipocyte diameter in s.c. abdominal, but not gluteal, AT was associated positively with leptin and negatively with adiponectin plasma levels and peripheral glucose disposal rate. The latter correlation was no longer significant after adjustment for collagen thickness. Conclusion: In overweight/obese premenopausal women, larger adipocyte diameter in s.c. abdominal, but not gluteal, AT associates with low plasma adiponectin and systemic insulin resistance, and suggests that increased collagen thickness (obesity-related scarring) could contribute to these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-282
Number of pages7
JournalMetabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine

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