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PLoS One. 2011 Mar 18;6(3):e18104. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018104.

Lean body mass, interleukin 18, and metabolic syndrome in apparently healthy Chinese.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.



We aimed to investigate how lean body mass is related to circulating Interleukin 18 (IL-18) and its association with metabolic syndrome (MetS) among apparently healthy Chinese.


A population-based sample of 1059 Chinese men and women aged 35-54 years was used to measure plasma IL-18, glucose, insulin, lipid profile, inflammatory markers and high-molecular-weight (HMW)-adiponectin. Fat mass index (FMI) and lean mass index (LMI) were measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. MetS was defined by the updated National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III criteria for Asian-Americans.


Circulating IL-18 was positively correlated with LMI after adjustment for FMI (correlation coefficient = 0.11, P<0.001). The association with the MetS (odds ratio 3.43, 95% confidence interval 2.01-5.85) was substantially higher in the highest than the lowest quartile of IL-18 after multiple adjustments including body mass index. In the stratified multivariable regression analyses, the positive association between IL-18 and MetS was independent of tertiles of FMI, inflammatory markers and HMW-adiponectin, but significantly interacted with tertile of LMI (P for interaction = 0.010).


Elevated plasma IL-18 was associated with higher MetS prevalence in apparently healthy Chinese, independent of traditional risk factors, FMI, inflammatory markers and HMW-adiponectin. More studies are needed to clarify the role of lean mass in IL-18 secretion and its associated cardio-metabolic disorders.

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