Chest CT Measures of Muscle and Adipose Tissue in COPD: Gender-based Differences in Content and in Relationships with Blood Biomarkers

Alejandro A. Diaz, Linfu Zhou, Tom P. Young, Merry Lynn McDonald, Rola Harmouche, James C. Ross, Raul San Jose Estepar, Emiel F.M. Wouters, Harvey O. Coxson, William MacNee, Stephen Rennard, François Maltais, Gregory L. Kinney, John E. Hokanson, George R. Washko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objectives: Computed tomography (CT) of the chest can be used to assess pectoralis muscle area (PMA) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) area. Adipose tissue content is associated with inflammatory mediators in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) subjects. Based on gender differences in body composition, we aimed to assess the hypothesis that in subjects with COPD, the relationships between PMA, SAT, and blood biomarkers of inflammation differ by gender. Materials and Methods: We compared chest CT measures of PMA and SAT on a single slice at aortic arch and supraesternal notch levels from 73 subjects (28 women) with COPD between genders. The relationships of PMA and SAT area to biomarkers were assessed using within-gender regression models. Results: Women had a lesser PMA and a greater SAT area than men (difference range for PMA, 13.3-22.8cm2; for SAT, 11.8-12.4cm2; P<.05 for all comparisons) at both anatomic levels. These differences in PMA and SAT remained significant after adjustment for age and body mass index. Within-gender regression models adjusted for age showed that SAT was directly associated with C-reactive protein (for aortic arch level, P=04) and fibrinogen (for both anatomic locations, P=003) only in women, whereas PMA was not associated with any biomarkers in either gender. Conclusions: It appears that in subjects with COPD, there are gender-based differences in the relationships between subcutaneous adipose tissue and inflammatory biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1255-1261
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Adipose subcutaneous tissue
  • Biomarkers
  • COPD
  • CRP
  • CT
  • Fibrinogen
  • IL-6
  • Pectoralis muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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