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Nutrients, 2021; 13(12): , PMID: 34960085

Assessment of Intramuscular Fat and Correlation with Body Composition in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Spondyloarthritis: A Pilot Study.

Year: 2021

Villedon de Naide M, Pereira B, Courteix D, Dutheil F, Cassagnes L, Boirie Y, Soubrier M, Tournadre A
Rheumatology Department, CHU Clermont-Ferrand, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and spondyloarthritis (SpA) are associated with changes in body composition. Ectopic intramuscular fat (IMAT) may alter muscle function and contribute to cardiometabolic disorders. In a pilot study, we analyzed IMAT in the calf with peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and examined correlations between IMAT quantity and body composition parameters. In 20 patients with active RA and 23 with active SpA, IMAT was correlated with visceral fat (VAT; r = 0.5143 and 0.6314, respectively; p < 0.05) and total lean mass (r = 0.5414 and 0.8132, respectively; p < 0.05), but not with whole body fat mass. Total lean mass mediated 16% and 33% of the effects of VAT on IMAT in RA and SpA, respectively. In both RA and SpA, calf muscle area was correlated with total lean mass (r = 0.5940 and r = 0.8597, respectively; p < 0.05) and fat area was correlated with total body fat (r = 0.6767 and 0.5089, respectively; p < 0.05) and subcutaneous fat (r = 0.6526 and 0.5524, respectively; p < 0.05). Fat area was inversely correlated with handgrip and walking tests, and it was associated with disease activity and disability. We showed that ectopic IMAT, measured with pQCT, was correlated with VAT, but not with total body fat, in RA and SpA. This result suggests that metabolically active fat was specifically associated with IMAT.

GID: 5610; Last update: 10.01.2022