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Eur J Haematol. 2006 Jun;76(6):516-20.

Leukocytosis in obese individuals: possible link in patients with unexplained persistent neutrophilia.

Author information

1
Department of Hematology, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel. herishanu@yahoo.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Recently, it was shown that fat tissue produces and releases inflammatory cytokines, and that obesity may be regarded as a state of low-grade inflammation. In this regard, we aimed to establish an association between obesity and persistent leukocytosis.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

We present clinical observations of obese subjects primarily referred for further evaluation of leukocytosis without a cause and validated the link between leukocytosis and elevated body mass index (BMI) in a cross-sectional study.

RESULTS:

During 1999-2005, 327 patients were referred for further investigation because of persistent leukocytosis. Of these, 15.3% were asymptomatic obese, mostly females, with mild persistent neutrophilia accompanied by elevated acute-phase reactants. After careful evaluation, no recognized cause for leukocytosis was found other than the fact that the patients were obese. During a mean follow-up of 45.6 months, the leukocytosis and the elevated acute-phase reactants persisted and no new causes for leukocytosis were evident. Furthermore, in a cross-sectional analysis of 3716 non-smoker subjects, 62 were found to have leukocytosis. Compared with the population with a normal white blood count range, these subjects with leukocytosis had higher BMI, serum C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, waist circumference, and neutrophil and platelet count (all P < 0.0005). After logistic regression analysis, only BMI was shown to be associated with leukocytosis (P < 0.0005).

CONCLUSIONS:

Obesity is recognized as a possible cause for reactive leukocytosis. Awareness of this 'obesity-associated leukocytosis' may help the clinician to avoid more extensive and unnecessary diagnostic work-up, particularly in similar obese subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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