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Pediatr Res. 2007 Jun;61(6):640-5.

New predictors of the metabolic syndrome in children--role of adipocytokines.

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University Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Leipzig, 04317 Leipzig, Germany.


There is ample discussion of the relevance of the metabolic syndrome, the definition criteria, and predictive power. Nevertheless, along with the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in obese children is reported at 30%, irrespective of the definition applied. Because children are otherwise relatively free of co-morbidities, they constitute an interesting population in which to study the sequence of events of obesity-related pathology. The adipocytokines appear to be important in this respect. Leptin was initially suggested as a promising "antiobesity" hormone. New concepts indicate that, in humans, leptin and its soluble receptor may be more important in states of energy deficiency rather than a predictor of the metabolic syndrome. Adiponectin, on the other hand, is not only related to obesity and insulin resistance, but appears to be the strongest predictor for metabolic syndrome, even in children. In newborns and infants, both adipocytokines occur in high concentrations, even though this cannot completely explain the increased risk for ensuing metabolic disease later in life. Finally, low-grade systemic inflammation may underlie the clustering of metabolic risk factors, but their role in children remains to be specified. Overall factors from the adipose tissue may constitute not only markers but also mediators of metabolic sequelae of obesity.

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