King's College London

Research portal

Ethnic differences in hepatic, pancreatic, muscular and visceral fat deposition in healthy men of white European and black west African ethnicity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article number107866
JournalDiabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Early online date19 Sep 2019
Accepted/In press18 Sep 2019
E-pub ahead of print19 Sep 2019
PublishedOct 2019


King's Authors


Abstract Aims We aimed to assess ethnic differences in visceral adipose tissue (VAT), intrahepatic (IHL), intrapancreatic (IPL) and intramyocellular lipids (IMCL) between healthy white European (WE) and black west African (BWA) men. Methods 23 WE and 20 BWA men underwent Dixon-magnetic resonance imaging to quantify VAT, IHL and IPL; and proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy to quantify IMCL. Insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function were determined using homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-2). Results BWA men exhibited significantly lower VAT (P = 0.021) and IHL (P = 0.044) than WE men, but comparable IPL (P = 0.92) and IMCL (P = 0.87). VAT was associated with IPL in both ethnicities (WE: P < 0.001; BWA: P = 0.001) but the relationship with IHL differed by ethnicity (Pinteraction = 0.018) and was only significant in WE men (WE: P < 0.001; BWA: P = 0.36). All ectopic fat depots inversely associated with insulin sensitivity and positively associated with beta-cell function in WE but not BWA men. Conclusions Lower VAT and IHL, and their lack of interrelation, in BWA men suggests ethnic differences exist in the mechanisms of ectopic fat deposition. The lack of association between ectopic fat with insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in BWA men may indicate a lesser role for ectopic fat in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus in black populations.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454