Changes in subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) structure and metabolism have been shown to correlate with the development of obesity and related metabolic disorders. Measurements of AT physiology could provide new insight into metabolic disease progression and response to therapy. An emerging functional imaging technology, diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging (DOSI), was used to obtain quantitative measures of near infrared (NIR) AT optical and physiological properties.
Ten overweight or obese adults were assessed during 3 months on calorie-restricted diets. DOSI-derived tissue concentrations of hemoglobin, water and lipid and the wavelength-dependent scattering amplitude (A) and slope (b) obtained from 30 abdominal locations and three time points (T0, T6, T12) were calculated and analyzed using linear mixed-effects models and were also used to form 3D surface images.
Subjects lost a mean of 11.7±3.4% of starting weight, while significant changes in A (+0.23±0.04 mm(-1), adj. P<0.001),b (-0.17±0.04, adj. P<0.001), tissue water fraction (+7.2±1.1%, adj. P<0.001) and deoxyhemoglobin (1.1±0.3 μM, adj. P<0.001) were observed using mixed-effect model analysis.
Optical scattering signals reveal alterations in tissue structure that possibly correlate with reductions in adipose cell volume, while water and hemoglobin dynamics suggest improved AT perfusion and oxygen extraction. These results suggest that DOSI measurements of NIR optical and physiological properties could be used to enhance understanding of the role of AT in metabolic disorders and provide new strategies for diagnostic monitoring of obesity and weight loss.