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Myocardial steatosis, cardiac remodelling and fitness in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant obese women
  1. Wolfgang Utz1,
  2. Stefan Engeli2,
  3. Sven Haufe2,3,
  4. Petra Kast3,
  5. Mario Hermsdorf3,
  6. Susanne Wiesner3,
  7. Martin Pofahl1,
  8. Julius Traber1,
  9. Friedrich C Luft3,
  10. Michael Boschmann3,
  11. Jeanette Schulz-Menger1,
  12. Jens Jordan2
  1. 1Working Group Cardiac MR Medical Faculty of the Charité Campus Buch and HELIOS Klinikum Berlin Buch, Berlin, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
  3. 3Franz Volhard Clinical Research Center at the Experimental and Clinical Research Center, Charité and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Jens Jordan, Institute for Clinical Pharmacology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany; jordan.jens{at}


Background Obesity predisposes to heart failure and premature cardiovascular death, particularly in sedentary women. In animal models and in men with type 2 diabetes mellitus, impaired cardiac function is associated with myocardial triglyceride (MTG) accumulation. Lipotoxic injury from altered myocardial metabolism may be causative. Whether such association also exists in obese, non-diabetic women is unknown.

Objective To explore the relation between MTG content, cardiac remodelling and cardiorespiratory fitness in obese, insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant non-diabetic women.

Design Cross-sectional investigation.

Setting Academic clinical research centre.

Patients 65 Overweight/obese and sedentary, but otherwise healthy women (body mass index 33±4 kg/m2; age 45±10 years).

Interventions None.

Main outcome measures Cardiac structure and function measured by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging and MTG content of the interventricular septum by 1H MR spectroscopy. Additional outcomes were cardiopulmonary fitness and insulin sensitivity during oral glucose tolerance testing.

Results Insulin resistance (composite insulin sensitivity index (C-ISI) <4.6) was present in 29 women. MTG content was higher (0.83±0.30 vs 0.61±0.23, p=0.002) and left ventricular diastolic (p<0.01), but not systolic function was reduced in women with insulin resistance compared with insulin-sensitive women. The remodelling index defined as left ventricular mass divided by end-diastolic volume was increased in women with impaired glucose tolerance (p=0.006). Furthermore, cardiopulmonary fitness was equal in both groups, but was inversely correlated with MTG (r=−0.28, p=0.02).

Conclusions In overweight and obese women, insulin resistance is associated with increased MTG content, cardiac remodelling and reduced diastolic function.

Clinical Trial Registration NCT00956566.

  • Cardiac remodelling
  • obesity
  • diastolic dysfunction
  • MRI
  • gender

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  • Funding The study was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF-0313868). The work was also supported in part by the Commission of the European Communities (Collaborative Project ADAPT, Contract No. HEALTH-F2-2008-201100) and the German Obesity Network of Competence (Collaborative Project ADIPOSETARGET, 01 Gl0830). The study was part of a joint project between metanomics GmbH (Berlin, Germany), Charité - University Medical School and Hannover Medical School.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the institutional review board.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.