Increased Pancreatic Fat Fraction Is Present in Obese Adolescents With Metabolic Syndrome

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 05/17/2012

Maggio ABR et al. – Obese adolescents accumulate fat in the pancreas. Pancreatic fat fraction (PFF) correlates with the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS). Even in the absence of glucose intolerance, pancreatic fat deposition is associated with impaired insulin response to glucose overload. This suggests that beta–cell dysfunction may already be present in nondiabetic obese adolescents, mirroring what has been shown in adults, and that pancreatic fat accumulation may participate in obesity–associated pancreatic endocrine dysfunction.


  • The authors recruited 25 lean and 24 obese adolescents.
  • PFF and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were determined using magnetic resonance imaging.
  • Obese subjects underwent an oral glucose tolerance test.


  • PFF was significantly higher in obese than in lean subjects and was associated with VAT, gamma-glutamyltransferase, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, leptin concentrations, and MetS (P<0.05 for all).
  • None of the obese subjects had glucose intolerance, but when adjusted for VAT, the following 3 parameters correlated negatively with PFF: fasting and 30- minute and 120-minute insulin levels.
  • The authors divided subjects into 3 groups: group I, lean without MetS; group II, obese without MetS; and group III, obese with MetS, and observed that PFF increased gradually among groups.

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