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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2014, Article ID 586017, 7 pages
Research Article

Mitochondrial DNA Copy Number in Peripheral Blood Is Independently Associated with Visceral Fat Accumulation in Healthy Young Adults

1Department of Family Medicine, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University, College of Medicine, 250 Seongsanno, Seodaemun-gu 120-752, Republic of Korea
2Sport and Medicine Research Center, INTOTO Inc., 401 Dawoo BD, 90-6 Daeshin-Dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-160, Republic of Korea

Received 11 July 2013; Revised 22 December 2013; Accepted 1 January 2014; Published 24 February 2014

Academic Editor: Debra Waters

Copyright © 2014 Jee-Yon Lee et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aims. Visceral obesity is associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases and it is important to identify the underlying mechanisms. There is growing evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with metabolic disturbances related to visceral obesity. In addition, maintaining mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number is important for preserving mitochondrial function. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between mtDNA copy number and visceral fat in healthy young adults. Methods. A total of 94 healthy young subjects were studied. Biomarkers of metabolic risk factors were assessed along with body composition by computed tomography. mtDNA copy number was measured in peripheral leukocytes using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Results. The mtDNA copy number correlated with BMI ( , ), waist circumference ( , ), visceral fat area ( , ), HDL-cholesterol levels ( , ), and hs-CRP ( , ) after adjusting for age and sex. Both stepwise and nonstepwise multiple regression analyses confirmed that visceral fat area was independently associated with mtDNA copy number ( , , , and , resp.). Conclusions. An independent association between mtDNA content and visceral adiposity was identified. These data suggest that mtDNA copy number is a potential predictive marker for metabolic disturbances. Further studies are required to understand the causality and clinical significance of our findings.