UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine; UMass Metabolic Network

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Biochemistry | Cardiology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases


BACKGROUND: Adipokines are elaborated by adipose tissue and are associated with glycemic, lipid, and vascular traits. We hypothesized that in a cross-sectional analysis circulating adipokines are altered among subsets of obesity stratified by presence versus absence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and prospectively predict the incidence of MetS.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants in the community-based Framingham Third Generation Cohort who attended examination cycle 1 were included in the study (2002-2005; N=3777, mean age, 40 years; 59% women). Circulating adiponectin, leptin, leptin receptor, fetuin-A, fatty acid-binding protein 4, and retinol binding protein 4 were assayed and related to incident MetS in follow-up (mean 6 years). The adipokines were compared among individuals with excess body weight (body mass index > /=25 kg/m2) and prevalent MetS, excess body weight without MetS (metabolically healthy obese), and normal-weight with MetS (metabolically obese, normal-weight) with normal-weight participants without MetS as a referent. Metabolically healthy obese individuals (n=1467) had higher circulating levels of fetuin-A and fatty acid-binding protein 4 but lower levels of leptin, leptin receptor, and adiponectin (P < 0.001 for all). The adipokine panel was associated with incident MetS (263 new-onset cases; P=0.002). Higher circulating concentrations of retinol-binding protein 4 and fetuin-A were associated with incidence of MetS (odds ratio per 1-SD increment log marker, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.03-1.41 [P=0.02] and 1.17; 95% CI, 1.01-1.34 [P=0.03], respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: In our community-based sample of young to middle-aged adults, metabolically healthy obese individuals demonstrated an adverse adipokine profile. Higher circulating levels of retinol-binding protein 4 and fetuin-A marked future cardiometabolic risk.


adipokine, epidemiology, metabolic syndrome, obesity, risk factor

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© 2017 The Authors.

DOI of Published Version



J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Jul 16;6(7). pii: e004974. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.004974. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Heart Association

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License