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Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2015 Feb 10;14:20. doi: 10.1186/s12933-015-0184-5.

Role of adiponectin and free fatty acids on the association between abdominal visceral fat and insulin resistance.



Experimental studies have shown that high free fatty acid (FFA) and low adiponectin (ADIPO) levels are involved in the mechanisms by which adiposity promotes insulin resistance (IR). However, no previous clinical studies have simultaneously analysed the relative contribution of FFA and ADIPO levels on the relation of abdominal visceral fat (AVF) with insulin resistance.


To analyse the contribution of low ADIPO (adiponectin < =p25th: 8.67 μg/mL in women and 5.30 μg/mL in men), and high FFAs (FFAs > =p75th: 0.745 mEq/L in women and 0.60 mEq/L in men) to the association of high AVF (AVF > =p75th: 127 cm2 in women; 152.7 cm2 in men) with insulin resistance (HOMA-IR > =75th: 3.58 in women and 3.12 in men), in non-diabetic subjects.


A cross-sectional analysis was performed including 1217 control participants of the Genetics of Atherosclerotic Disease study (GEA). Clinical, tomographic and biochemical parameters were measured in all participants. Logistic regression models were used to assess the association of high AVF with IR stratifying according to gender, and to normal or low ADIPO and normal or high FFA serum levels.


In comparison to referent group, in men low ADIPO unlike high FFA increased the risk of IR. Females with normal AVF and low ADIPO, or high AVF and normal ADIPO had aprox 3 folds risk of IR (OR [IC95%]: 3.7 [2.1-6.6], p < 0.001, and 3.4 [2.0-5.7], p < 0.001; respectively). The risk increased to 7.6 [4.2-13.8], p < 0.001 when high AVF and low ADIPO were present. Irrespective of AVF, the effect of low ADIPO on IR was higher than that seen for high FFA. Besides, our results suggest an additive effect of high AVF, high FFA and low ADIPO on the IR prevalence.


The present study provides novel and important information about the combined effect of high AVF and low ADIPO on the risk of IR. Furthermore, our data suggest that the effect of low adiponectin levels on the high AVF-IR association is stronger than that observed for high FFA, suggesting that adiponectin could be used as biomarker to identify subjects at high risk for T2DM and CAD.

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