Abdominal Fat a Key Player in Vascular Disease in Psoriasis Patients


By Reuters Staff

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A study of patients with psoriasis shows that visceral fat plays a key role in vascular inflammation, beyond a patient's body-mass index.

In the study of middle-aged psoriasis patients, visceral adiposity was associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors, including vascular inflammation. The relationship with vascular inflammation “remained robust beyond cardiovascular risk factors for visceral compared to subcutaneous adiposity,” the investigators report.

They also observed that treating psoriasis led to improvements in vascular inflammation and visceral adiposity, suggesting that “modulation of visceral adipose volume may play a role in reducing vascular inflammation and subsequent cardiovascular disease risk in a chronic inflammatory state.”

Joshua Rivers and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report their observations online October 18 in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.

An estimated 1 million Americans suffer moderate to severe psoriasis. “Although the psoriatic plaque may appear to be limited to the skin, its effects may be far-reaching and systemic leading to increased obesity and cardiometabolic disease risk,” the investigators note. “As such, measures of adiposity such as body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio are important to assess when caring for patients with psoriasis,” they write.

Using 18-FDG PET/CT imaging, the study team examined the relationship between visceral adiposity volume (VAT) and vascular inflammation in 77 patients with mild to moderate psoriasis, and sought to determine whether treating the psoriasis altered VAT and vascular inflammation. The cohort was middle-aged (mean age, 52) and predominantly male (57%) with a low cardiovascular risk determined by Framingham 10-year risk assessment.

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