The relationship between erythrocyte sodium-lithium countertransport (NaLi CT) and body fat distribution is analyzed in a sample (n = 101) of normotensive and untreated hypertensive men participating in an epidemiological study of coronary heart disease risk factors. NaLi CT is significantly and positively associated with both subscapular skinfold and waist to hip ratio, but not with triceps skinfold. The univariate correlation between NaLi CT and blood pressure is diminished when adjusted for body mass index and waist to hip ratio. These findings support the existence of an association between NaLi CT and central body fat distribution and suggest that the metabolic abnormalities associated with centrally distributed body fat could explain, at least in part, the association between NaLi CT and blood pressure. The maximal velocity of the sodium-lithium countertransport (NaLi CT) in erythrocytes has been reported to be directly associated with blood pressure and hypertension in numerous reports from both clinical and epidemiological studies (1-6). In most of these studies, indices of weight and/or adiposity (body mass index, in particular) have been shown to be among the most important correlates of NaLi CT (1-7). Adiposity is an important determinant of blood pressure, and there is evidence suggesting that the patterning of the fat cells in the body is linked to a number of metabolic disturbances that could lead to hypertension and an increase in other CHD risk factors (8, 9). The present report analyses the relationship between NaLi CT and body fat distribution in a sample of normotensive and untreated hypertensive men participating in an epidemiological study.
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