Arterial and fat tissue inflammation are highly correlated : a prospective F-18-FDG PET/CT study

Jan Bucerius, Venkatesh Mani, Stephanie Wong, Colin Moncrieff, David Izquierdo-Garcia, Josef Machac, Valentin Fuster, Michael E. Farkouh, James H. F. Rudd, Zahi A. Fayad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Web of Science)


There is evidence that the link between obesity and cardiovascular disease might relate to inflammation in both fat tissue and the arterial wall. F-18-FDG uptake on PET is a surrogate marker of vessel wall inflammation. The aim of the study was to measure FDG uptake in both regions using PET and identify links between adipose and arterial inflammation. Included in the study were 173 cardiovascular patients who were prospectively imaged with FDG PET/CT. Arterial FDG uptake was measured in the carotid arteries and ascending aorta. The same was done in fat tissue in the neck, the presternal region (both subcutaneous) and the pericardium. FDG uptake was quantified as average maximal target-to-background ratio (meanTBRmax). Multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify significant associations between arterial and adipose tissue FDG uptake and clinical variables as given by the standardized correlation coefficient (beta). FDG uptake values in all fat tissue regions were highly predictive of vascular FDG uptake in both the carotids (beta 0.262, p <0.0001, in the neck subcutaneous region) and aorta (beta 0.22, p = 0.008, in the chest pericardial region; beta 0.193, p = 0.019, in the chest subcutaneous region). Obesity was significantly associated with elevated FDG uptake in adipose tissue (beta 0.470, p <0.0001, in the neck subcutaneous region; beta 0.619, p = 0.028, in the chest subcutaneous region; beta 0.978, p = 0.035, in the chest pericardial region). FDG uptake in diverse fat tissue regions was significantly associated with arterial FDG uptake, a reasonable surrogate of inflammation. Increasing body weight significantly predicted the level of fatty inflammation. FDG PET therefore provides imaging evidence of an inflammatory link between fat tissue and the vasculature in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)934-945
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Inflammation
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Fat tissue
  • Carotid arteries
  • Aorta

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