Visceral Fat: Culprit or Canary?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Although visceral fat is strongly correlated with the metabolic complications of obesity, the existing data indicate it is not the cause of these complications. Excess release of free fatty acids (FFA) from adipose tissue lipolysis can account for a sizable portion of the metabolic complications of obesity. In humans, upper-body subcutaneous adipose tissue accounts for most systemic FFA, whereas visceral fat contributes a modest portion of the excess amount to which the liver is exposed. This pattern is maintained in upper-body/visceral obesity, except that greater amounts of visceral fat expose the liver to more FFA from visceral adipose tissue lipolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Adipogenesis
  • Adipose tissue
  • Free fatty acids
  • Insulin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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