Changes in Pancreatic Fat Content Following Diet-Induced Weight Loss

Yixin Jiang, Manuela Spurny, Ruth Schübel, Tobias Nonnenmacher, Christopher L Schlett, Oyunbileg von Stackelberg, Cornelia M Ulrich, Rudolf Kaaks, Hans-Ulrich Kauczor, Tilman Kühn, Johanna Nattenmüller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)


BACKGROUND: Obesity can lead to ectopic pancreatic fat accumulation and increase the risk for type 2 diabetes. Smaller intervention trials have shown a decrease in pancreatic fat content (PFC) with weight loss, and we intended to investigate the effects of weight loss on PFC in a larger trial.

METHODS: Data from the HELENA-Trial, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) among 137 non-diabetic obese adults were used. The study cohort was classified into 4 quartiles based on weight change between baseline and 12 weeks post-intervention. Changes in PFC (baseline, 12 weeks and 50 weeks post-intervention) upon weight loss were analyzed by linear mixed models. Spearman's coefficients were used to obtain correlations between anthropometric parameters, blood biochemical markers, and PFC.

RESULTS: At baseline, PFC only showed a significant correlation with visceral adipose tissue (VAT) (r = 0.41). Relative changes in PFC were significantly (p = 0.01) greater in Q4 (-30.8 ± 5.7%) than in Q1 (1.3 ± 6.7%). These differences remained similar after one year. However, when adjusting the statistical analyses for changes in VAT, the differences in PFC between Q1 and Q4 were no longer statistically significant.

CONCLUSION: Weight loss is associated with a decrease in PFC. However, the reduction of PFC is not independent from reductions in VAT. Unlike VAT, PFC was not associated with metabolic biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2019


  • Adipose Tissue/metabolism
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Composition
  • Caloric Restriction
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight
  • Pancreas/metabolism
  • Weight Loss


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