Date: 28 Dec 2004

Evaluation of adipose tissue distribution in obese fa/fa Zucker rats by in vivo MR imaging: effects of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists

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High-resolution MRI of obese (fa/fa) Zucker rats was investigated to characterize and assess in vivo adipose tissue distribution. Thirty animals were gavaged with a placebo, a PPARγ activator (pioglitazone), or a dual PPARα γ activator (LM 4156). At day 15, T1-weighted images were acquired in vivo using a 2TMRI system with a high in-plane spatial resolution (254 μm). Fat volumes of selected territories were measured by image segmentation, and the retroperitoneal fat was weighed post-mortem. Body-weight gain was significant with pioglitazone (101.8±5.9 g, p<0.01 vs. placebo). The good quality of MR images allowed the delimitation and quantification of different fat territories. In response to pioglitazone, the retroperitoneal fat was more important compared to placebo (+23%, p<0.01) while subcutaneous fat was not different. No significant effects were observed with LM 4156. In vivo measurements of fat volumes were strongly correlated with ex vivo tissue weights (r=0.91). High-resolution MRI provides an in vivo measurement of adipose tissue distribution in obese Zucker rats. Specific fat depots of regions that were particularly involved in drug response were determined in vivo. Fat remodeling was observed with pioglitazone but not with a dual PPARα γ activator (LM 4156).