Try our beta test site
IMPORTANT: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study. Read more...

Abdominal Fat and Imaging Measurements of Heart Disease

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified November 2015 by Laval University
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Jean-Pierre DESPRÉS, PhD, Laval University Identifier:
First received: September 27, 2011
Last updated: November 26, 2015
Last verified: November 2015

Although it is frequently mentioned in the media that overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions worldwide and in this country, some Canadians are perplexed and sometimes confused about the role of obesity in diabetes and heart disease. In fact, the investigators even hear from time to time that there could be "healthy" obese individuals. In clinical practice, assessment of obesity as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains a challenge as even some physicians are confused. However, studies conducted in our laboratory and by other research teams around the world over the last 20 years have clearly shown that body shape is more important than body size when evaluating the risk of overweight/obesity and that high accumulation of abdominal fat (excess belly fat) increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The investigators now need to better understand the link between excess belly fat and atherosclerosis (the thickening of artery walls by fatty deposits, also referred to as atherosclerotic plaque), leading to complications such as angina (chest pain) and myocardial infarction (heart attacks). Using non-invasive imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, the investigators therefore propose to examine the relationships between measures of fatness and of abdominal fat and the size of atherosclerotic plaque in large blood vessels of apparently healthy human subjects. This study is also a unique opportunity to look, for the first time, at the relationship between belly fat, blood sugar, several well-known risk factors for heart disease (cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiorespiratory fitness, etc.) and the size of atherosclerotic plaques. This research program should pave the way to the development of new improved preventive/therapeutic approaches focusing not on body weight but rather on abdominal fat and associated blood abnormalities which are predictive of the development of atherosclerotic plaques leading to the premature development of heart disease.

Visceral Obesity
Metabolic Syndrome

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Visceral Obesity/Ectopic Fat and Non-invasive Markers of Atherosclerosis: A Cardiometabolic-cardiovascular Imaging Study

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Laval University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in carotid vessel wall volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) [ Time Frame: Change between baseline and 3-year follow-up ]
    Cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the relationships between indices of body fat distribution, visceral adiposity/ectopic fat deposition, cardiorespiratory fitness and non-invasive measurements of macrovascular atherosclerosis

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Change in abdominal adipose tissue measured by computed tomography (CT) [ Time Frame: Change between baseline and 3-year follow-up ]
    Visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue will be determined at both L2-L3 and L4-L5 levels

  • Change in epi- and pericardial fat measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) [ Time Frame: Change between baseline and 3-year follow-up ]

Biospecimen Retention:   Samples With DNA
Whole blood, serum, plasma, white cells

Estimated Enrollment: 500
Study Start Date: March 2013
Estimated Study Completion Date: March 2017
Estimated Primary Completion Date: March 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Observational, longitudinal study
Adult men and women representative of the population of asymptomatic adult men and women aged from 35-65 years living in the Québec City metropolitan area


Ages Eligible for Study:   35 Years to 65 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Random sample of adult men and women representative of the population of asymptomatic adult men and women aged from 35-65 years living in the Québec City metropolitan area

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Men and women aged 35-65 years

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Massive obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pharmacological treatment for lipids, hypertension and/or type 2 diabetes
  • Clinical signs of cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic inflammatory or auto-immune diseases
  • Pulmonary diseases on corticosteroids
  • Cancers not in remission
  • History or clinical evidence of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • History of revascularisation procedures
  • Current smoking
  • Hormonal replacement therapy
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01447745

Contact: DESPRÉS Jean-Pierre, PhD 418 656-4863
Contact: CYR Michèle 418 656-8711 ext 3602

Canada, Quebec
Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec Recruiting
Québec, Quebec, Canada, G1V 4G5
Principal Investigator: DESPRÉS Jean-Pierre, PhD         
Sub-Investigator: DAGENAIS Gilles, MD         
Sub-Investigator: LAMARCHE Benoît, PhD         
Sub-Investigator: LAROSE Eric, DVM, MD         
Sub-Investigator: MATHIEU Patrick, MD         
Sub-Investigator: PIBAROT Philippe, DVM, PhD         
Sub-Investigator: POIRIER Paul, MD, PhD         
Sub-Investigator: RHÉAUME Caroline, MD, PhD         
Sponsors and Collaborators
Laval University
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
Principal Investigator: DESPRÉS Jean-Pierre, PhD Université Laval/Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec
  More Information

Responsible Party: Jean-Pierre DESPRÉS, PhD, Principal Investigator, Laval University Identifier: NCT01447745     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CIHR MOP-114920
Study First Received: September 27, 2011
Last Updated: November 26, 2015

Keywords provided by Laval University:
Visceral obesity
Cardiometabolic risk
Ectopic fat
Carotid plaque
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Computed tomography (CT)

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Metabolic Syndrome X
Obesity, Abdominal
Nutrition Disorders
Body Weight
Signs and Symptoms
Insulin Resistance
Glucose Metabolism Disorders
Metabolic Diseases
Arterial Occlusive Diseases
Vascular Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases processed this record on May 23, 2017