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Menopause. 2008 Jul-Aug;15(4 Pt 1):619-27. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318159f1a2.

Centrally located body fat is related to inflammatory markers in healthy postmenopausal women.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Human Metabolic Unit, Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.



C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors. These acute-phase proteins and the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1beta may be elevated in obesity and with menopause. The purpose of this multicenter study was to identify whether centrally located fat and/or overall adiposity were related to these inflammatory markers in healthy postmenopausal women.


We used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to assess overall and regional body composition (fat mass in particular) in 242 postmenopausal women in relation to plasma fibrinogen, serum C-reactive protein, and these proinflammatory cytokines.


Multiple regression analyses revealed that 36% of the variability in C-reactive protein (F = 32.4, P <or= 0.0001) was accounted for by androidal fat mass (16.1%, P <or= 0.0001), white blood cells (5.6%, P <or= 0.0001), and age (2.3%, P = 0.0045). Regression analyses revealed that 30% of the variability in fibrinogen (F = 24.5, P <or= 0.0001) was accounted for by white blood cells (3.1%, P = 0.0015), hip fat mass (2.2%, P = 0.0081), years since menopause (0.9%, P = 0.082), and geographic site (P <or= 0.0001). Our results indicated that androidal fat mass and hip fat mass contributed to C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, respectively, whereas we found no association between whole-body or regional fat measures and cytokines.


Further study is warranted to determine the responsiveness of these acute-phase proteins and cytokines to loss of body fat through exercise and dietary intervention in postmenopausal women.

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