Ultrasound estimates of visceral and subcutaneous-abdominal adipose tissues in infancy.

03 Oct 2017

Other imaging techniques to quantify internal-abdominal adiposity (IA-AT) and subcutaneous-abdominal adiposity (SCA-AT) are frequently impractical in infants. The aim of this study was twofold: (a) to validate ultrasound (US) visceral and subcutaneous-abdominal depths in assessing IA-AT and SCA-AT from MRI as the reference method in infants and (b) to analyze the association between US abdominal adiposity and anthropometric measures at ages 3 months and 12 months. Twenty-two infants underwent MRI and US measures of abdominal adiposity. Abdominal US parameters and anthropometric variables were assessed in the Cambridge Baby Growth Study (CBGS), n = 487 infants (23 girls) at age 3 months and n = 495 infants (237 girls) at 12 months. US visceral and subcutaneous-abdominal depths correlated with MRI quantified IA-AT (r = 0.48, P < 0.05) and SCA-AT (r = 0.71, P < 0.001) volumes, respectively. In CBGS, mean US-visceral depths increased by ~20 % between ages 3 and 12 months (P < 0.0001) and at both ages were lower in infants breast-fed at 3 months than in other infants. US-visceral depths at both 3 and 12 months were inversely related to skinfold thickness at birth (P = 0.03 and P = 0.009 at 3 and 12 months, resp.; adjusted for current skinfold thickness). In contrast, US-subcutaneous-abdominal depth at 3 months was positively related to skinfold thickness at birth (P = 0.004). US measures can rank infants with higher or lower IA-AT and SCA-AT. Contrasting patterns of association with visceral and subcutaneous-abdominal adiposities indicate that they may be differentially regulated in infancy.