OBJECTIVE: Abdominal obesity is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to assess whether metabolomic markers of T2D and blood pressure (BP) act on these traits via visceral fat (VF) mass.
METHODS: Metabolomic profiling of 280 fasting plasma metabolites was conducted on 2,401 women from TwinsUK. The overlap was assessed between published metabolites associated with T2D, insulin resistance, or BP and those that were identified to be associated with VF (after adjustment for covariates) measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.
RESULTS: In addition to glucose, six metabolites were strongly associated with both VF mass and T2D: lactate and branched-chain amino acids, all of them related to metabolism and the tricarboxylic acid cycle; on average, 38.5% of their association with insulin resistance was mediated by their association with VF mass. Five metabolites were associated with BP and VF mass including the inflammation-associated peptide HWESASXX, the steroid hormone androstenedione, lactate, and palmitate. On average, 29% of their effect on BP was mediated by their association with VF mass.
CONCLUSIONS: Little overlap was found between the metabolites associated with BP and those associated with insulin resistance via VF mass.