Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern (United States) have shown that, in overweight or obese adults combined with a high cardiovascular risk, the drug liraglutide , administered once a day and combined with lifestyle interventions , significantly reduced two types of fat that have been associated with risk to heart health: visceral fat and ectopic fat.
“Our e # studio used the most advanced imaging technology to evaluate the different components of fat in the body. The main finding was a significant decrease in visceral fat in patients without diabetes but who are overweight or obese. These results demonstrate the potential of liraglutide treatment to significantly reduce the risk of chronic diseases in this population, “explains Dr. Parag Joshi, lead author of the study, which has been published in the journal ‘The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology . ‘
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Visceral fat is stored in the abdominal cavity around important internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas, and intestines . Ectopic fat is stored in tissues that normally contain small amounts of fat, such as the liver, skeletal muscle, heart, and pancreas.
All 185 study participants received a daily injection of liraglutide for 40 weeks of treatment. The relative effects of liraglutide on fat reduction were twice as great in abdominal tissues and six times as great in liver than those seen in total body weight.
The treatment effect was consistent across race / ethnicity and BMI categories, and among those with or without baseline prediabetes. Liraglutide also reduced fasting blood glucose and inflammation in this non-diabetic test population , most of whom had normal blood sugar levels at baseline.
In a 2016 study led by these same researchers and called the Leader trial, the rate of first-onset death from cardiovascular causes , non-fatal myocardial infarction, or non-fatal stroke among patients with type 2 diabetes was lower in those treated with liraglutide than placebo.
“Our findings help add a possible mechanism for why there is a benefit of liraglutide on cardiovascular outcomes , while showing its benefits in people without diabetes,” says Dr. Joshi.
According to the researchers, obesity affects 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 young people , which carries a significant risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
“Excess visceral fat and ectopic fat (for example, in the liver) is essential for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Identifying people at higher risk remains a challenge , to offer them a treatment in addition to changes in lifestyle, such as diet and exercise ” , Joshi emphasizes.