Ectopic fat

Ectopic fat

Fat accumulation in liver and muscle is one of the major determinants of metabolic health. Very little is known about the dietary factors that determine fat content in these tissues in humans, which is mainly due to the inaccessibility of liver for human studies. However, using non-invasive imaging techniques, fat accumulation and metabolism can be studied in ectopic fat stores. Especially interesting in the field of food and nutrition is the application of 13C-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to follow ‘real-time’ the time-course of retention of dietary fat in human tissues. To this end, non-hazardous, stable isotope labelled fatty acids (13C-FAs) can be incorporated in a meal and state of the art 13C-MRS makes it possible to follow the 13C-signal real-time after a meal. The accretion and decrease of the 13C-signal in the liver and muscle will unravel the time-course of postprandial hepatic and muscular retention of FA. This unique set up will show how subjects can handle a fat load.

Therefore, the overall aim of this project is to develop and validate methodology to follow the time-course of hepatic and muscular retention of dietary fatty acids.

Key objectives:

  • To develop 13C MRS to track dietary fat retention into liver and muscle
  • To validate 13C MRS in subjects at risk for high ectopic fat accumulation
  • To implement 13C MRS in human nutritional studies

This project is financed by a grant from the Ti Food and Nutrition (TIFN)
PhD student: Lucas Lindeboom