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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Feb;16(2):384-8. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.54.

Plasma visfatin concentration as a surrogate marker for visceral fat accumulation in obese children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Kitakyushu, Japan.



This study was designed to elucidate whether the plasma visfatin level reflects visceral or subcutaneous fat accumulation and metabolic derangement in obese children.


Fifty-six obese Japanese children, including 37 boys and 19 girls were enrolled in the study. The age of the subjects ranged from 5 to 15 (10.2 +/- 0.3; mean +/- s.e.m.) years. The age-matched control group for measuring visfatin consisted of 20 non-obese children. Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) areas were measured by computed tomography. The plasma concentrations for visfatin and leptin were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.


The plasma visfatin level was higher in the obese (14.7 +/- 0.9 ng/ml) than in the control children (8.6 +/- 0.6 ng/ml). In a univariate analysis, the visfatin correlated significantly with age, height, body weight, waist circumference, VAT and SAT area, triglyceride (TG), insulin, and the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-R). After being adjusted for age and sex, only the VAT area retained significant partial correlation with visfatin, and in contrast the body weight, BMI-s.d., and SAT area with leptin. The plasma visfatin concentration was not correlated with leptin. The plasma visfatin levels in the control, non-metabolic syndrome (MS) (n = 49), and MS groups (n = 7) were significantly different from each other.


These results suggest that plasma visfatin level is a specific marker for visceral fat accumulation in obese children. As a good surrogate marker, plasma visfatin level can predict the VAT area in obese children.

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