Is hepatic triglyceride content associated with aortic pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness? the Netherlands epidemiology of obesity study

Ralph L. Widya*, Renée De Mutsert, Jos J.M. Westenberg, Karin B. Gast, Martin Den Heijer, Saskia Le Cessie, Johannes W.A. Smit, J. Wouter Jukema, Frits R. Rosendaal, Albert De Roos, Hildo J. Lamb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: To test the hypothesis that hepatic triglyceride content is associated with subclinical vascular impairment and is not confounded by various cardiometabolic risk factors. Materials and Methods: This study was approved by the institutional review board, and all participants gave written informed consent. In this cross-sectional analysis of baseline measurements of the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study, a populationbased cohort study, 1899 participants (52% men; mean age, 55 years ± 6 [standard deviation]) underwent magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy and MR imaging to assess hepatic triglyceride content, aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV), and visceral fat. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) was acquired and measured by trained research nurses according to standard procedures. Multivariate regression analyses were used to study associations of hepatic triglyceride content with total and regional aortic PWV and carotid IMT while adjusting for several possible confounding factors, including the metabolic syndrome. Results: Total aortic PWV (mean difference, 0.5 m/sec; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.3, 0.7) and carotid IMT (mean difference, 37 mm; 95% CI: 25, 49) were higher in participants with hepatic steatosis. After adjusting for various covariates, a 10-fold increase in hepatic triglyceride content was associated with an increased mean aortic PWV of 0.19 m/ sec (95% CI: 0.03, 0.36) in total and an increased mean aortic PWV of 0.42 m/sec (95% CI: 0.03, 0.81) in the abdominal segment. A 10-fold increase in hepatic triglyceride content was also associated with an increased mean carotid IMT of 15 mm (95% CI: 0, 29) but not after additional adjustments for visceral and total body fat. Conclusion: In this relatively large population-based cohort study, hepatic triglyceride content was associated with aortic pulse wave velocity and carotid IMT. These associations were only partly explained by the metabolic syndrome and visceral adiposity, suggesting a possible specific contribution of hepatic steatosis to subclinical vascular impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-82
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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