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Respir Med. 2011 Jul;105(7):1046-53. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2011.02.001. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Gender differences in the adipose secretome system in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a pivotal role of leptin.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands.



COPD is characterized by a multi-component character involving a state of low-grade systemic inflammation and an increased prevalence of cardiovascular co-morbidity. The role of circulating leptin and other adipokines in the involvement of the systemic inflammation in COPD is only studied scarcely.


To investigate gender related differences in the adipokine metabolism in relation to systemic inflammatory biomarkers in clinically stable subjects with COPD.


In total, 91 clinically stable COPD patients and 35 healthy control subjects, matched for body mass index (BMI) with the COPD subjects, were included. Lung function measurement and body composition were performed in patients with COPD. In the total group, plasma concentration of the adipokines (leptin, adiponectin and resistin) and systemic inflammatory biomarkers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), and its soluble receptors 55 and 75 (sTNFα-R55, R75) were analyzed.


The COPD group was characterized by increased levels of CRP, IL-6 and leptin. Plasma adiponectin and resistin concentrations were not different between the COPD and the control group. Within the COPD group, there was a significant interaction between gender and BMI on the leptin/fat mass ratio. In COPD women, a significant correlation between leptin and CRP was present.


In men with clinically stable COPD, leptin, adiponectin and resistin appear to be physiologically regulated, while in women, leptin metabolism is altered. Leptin secretion is increased in COPD women when compared to healthy women and compared to COPD men, and to a greater extent in overweight women with COPD.

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