Kidney Fat Thickness Predicts Metabolic Syndrome in Diabetes


This is a summary of a preprint research study written by researchers at Longyan First Affiliated Hospital of Fujian Medical University in Fuzhou, China, on Research Square provided to you by Medscape. This study has not yet been peer reviewed. The full text of the study can be found on

Key Takeaways

  • Perirenal fat is the fat mass located in the retroperitoneal space surrounding the kidney. Radiological scans, such as CT used in this study, can quantify the thickness of this fat.

  • Increased thickness of the perirenal fat mass in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes was significantly and independently linked with an increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome.

  • This report is in preprint form and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Why This Matters

  • The current diagnostic process for metabolic syndrome in patient with diabetes is cumbersome, limiting early diagnosis, which can result in missed diagnoses. An effective predictor of metabolic syndrome could allow clinicians to focus their screening on patients at increased risk.

  • Study results showed that perirenal fat thickness could be a convenient and reliable marker of prevalent metabolic syndrome in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.

  • The authors say this is the first study to confirm this relationship in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Study Design

  • The study included 445 patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a single center in China.

  • Researchers diagnosed metabolic syndrome when patients had any three of the following five criteria: abdominal obesity, hyperglycemia, hypertension, elevated fasting triglyceride levels, and a decreased level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Key Results

  • Patients averaged 53 years old, their average perirenal fat thickness was 12.8 mm, and the overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 58%.

  • The area under the curve (C-statistic) for the thickness of perirenal fat to predict metabolic syndrome was 0.895 in men and 0.910 in women, showing that perirenal fat thickness accounted for about 90% of the prevalence of metabolic syndrome regardless of sex.

  • The authors calculated an optimal dichotomous threshold for high risk of having metabolic syndrome with a perirenal fat thickness of 14.6 mm in men and 13.1 mm in women.

  • In men, a perirenal fat thickness of at least 14.6 mm predicted the presence of metabolic syndrome with a sensitivity of 83.8% and a specificity of 89.6%.

  • In women, perirenal fat thickness of at least 13.1 mm predicted the presence of metabolic syndrome with a sensitivity of 87.6% and a specificity of 91.1%.



Predicting Value of Perirenal Fat Thickness for Metabolic Syndrome in Patients with Newly-Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes

Mitchel L. Zoler is a reporter for Medscape and MDedge based in the Philadelphia area. @mitchelzoler

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