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J Endocrinol Invest. 2002 Nov;25(10):899-904.

Coagulation and fibrinolysis abnormalities in obesity.

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Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, Section of Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


Abnormalities in coagulation and haemostasis represent a well-known link between obesity and thrombosis (both arterial and venous). Several studies have shown that obese patients have higher plasma concentrations of all pro-thrombotic factors (fibrinogen, vonWillebrand factor (vWF), and factor VII), as compared to non-obese controls, with a positive association with central fat. Similarly, plasma concentrations of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) have been shown to be higher in obese patients as compared to non-obese controls and to be directly correlated with visceral fat. Furthermore, obesity is characterized by higher plasma concentrations of anti-thrombotic factors, such as tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) and protein C, as compared to non-obese controls, the increase in these factors being likely to represent a protective response partly counteracting the increase in pro-thrombotic factors. The issue of whether adipose tissue contributes directly to plasma PAI-1, its products stimulating other cells to produce PAI-1, or whether it primarily contributes indirectly has not yet been resolved. It has been proposed that the secretion of interleukin-6 (IL-6) by adipose tissue, combined with the actions of adipose tissue-expressed TNF-alpha in obesity, could underlie the association of insulin resistance with endothelial dysfunction, coagulopathy, and coronary heart disease. The role of leptin in impairing haemostasis and promoting thrombosis has been recently reported. Finally, some hormonal abnormalities (androgen, F, catecholamines) associated with the accumulation of body fat may contribute to the impairment of coagulative pathway in obesity. As to intervention strategies, dietary (i.e., low-fat high-fiber diet) and lifestyle (i.e., physical activity) measures have been demonstrated to be effective in improving the obesity-associated pro-thrombotic risk profile.

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