Role of a critical visceral adipose tissue threshold (CVATT) in metabolic syndrome: implications for controlling dietary carbohydrates: a review
Boston University School of Medicine, 5 Bessom Street, No. 318, Marblehead, MA 01945, USA
Nutrition & Metabolism 2004, 1:12 doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-12Published: 5 November 2004
There are likely many scenarios and pathways that can lead to metabolic syndrome. This paper reviews mechanisms by which the accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) may contribute to the metabolic syndrome, and explores the paradigm of a critical VAT threshold (CVATT). Exceeding the CVATT may result in a number of metabolic disturbances such as insulin resistance to glucose uptake by cells. Metabolic profiles of patients with visceral obesity may substantially improve after only modest weight loss. This could reflect a significant reduction in the amount of VAT relative to peripheral or subcutaneous fat depots, thereby maintaining VAT below the CVATT. The CVATT may be unique for each individual. This may help explain the phenomena of apparently lean individuals with metabolic syndrome, the so-called metabolically normal weight (MONW), as well as the obese with normal metabolic profiles, i.e., metabolically normal obese (MNO), and those who are "fit and fat." The concept of CVATT may have implications for prevention and treatment of metabolic syndrome, which may include controlling dietary carbohydrates. The identification of the CVATT is admittedly difficult and its anatomical boundaries are not well-defined. Thus, the CVATT will continue to be a work in progress.