Affiliation: Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council (CNR), Via Moruzzi 1, 56124, Pisa, Italy.
Obesity and diabetes are growing threats for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and heart failure. In order to identify early and effective treatment or prevention targets, it is fundamental to dissect the role of each organ and the sequence of events leading from health to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The advancements in imaging modalities to evaluate organ-specific metabolism in humans in vivo is substantially contributing to the stratification of risk, identification of organ-specific culprits and development of targeted treatment strategies. This review summarizes the contribution provided by imaging of the heart, skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, liver, pancreas, gut and brain to the understanding of the pathogenesis and cardio-metabolic complications of obesity and diabetes, and to the monitoring of treatment responses in humans. We conclude by suggesting emerging fields of investigation, including the role of cardiac fat in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular disease, the conversion of white into brown adipose tissue in the treatment of obesity, the control of weight and energy balance by the brain, the integration between omics and imaging technologies to help establish biomarkers, and the characterization of gut metabolism in relation with the gut microbiome, opening a very promising preventive/therapeutic perspective.