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Atherosclerosis. 2009 Mar;203(1):277-83. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2008.06.013. Epub 2008 Jun 26.

Nuchal thickness of subcutaneous adipose tissue is tightly associated with an increased LMW/total adiponectin ratio in obese juveniles.

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  • 1Clinical Institute of Medical and Chemical Laboratory Diagnostics, Medical University of Graz, A-8036 Graz, Austria.


Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) topography contributes significantly to metabolic risk profiles and atherosclerotic vascular burden in obese adults. However, little information exists concerning individual risk profiles in early phases of obesity found in childhood and adolescence. Thus, the rationale of this study was to evaluate possible impacts of SAT topography in obese juveniles on adiponectin subfractions, with special emphasis on low molecular weight (LMW) adiponectin. To address this, we analysed associations between lipometry, early metabolic and preatherosclerotic symptoms and adiponectin subfractions in 71 obese juveniles and 75 normal weight controls of similar age and gender distribution. Compared to the controls, obese juveniles had a significantly decreased ratio between high molecular weight (HMW) and total adiponectin whereas the LMW/total adiponectin ratio was increased. The LMW/total adiponectin ratio correlated significantly positively with the SAT thickness of trunk-located lipometer measure points neck, biceps, upper back, lower back, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference. Further significant positive correlations were seen with systolic blood pressure, intima media thickness (IMT) of common carotid arteries, and metabolic parameters such as HOMA-index, leptin, oxidized LDL (oxLDL), liver transaminases, and HDL-triglycerides. This remained stable after controlling for gender. A stepwise multiple regression analysis encompassing all these variables revealed a robust positive association between LMW/total adiponectin ratio and nuchal SAT thickness defined by the lipometer measure point neck. Taken together, our data provide the first evidence that nuchal SAT thickness is tightly positively associated with an increased LMW/total adiponectin ratio.

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