Objective: To determine whether postmenopausal status is associated with elevated plasma inflammation markers compared to premenopausal status, and how this explains differences in fat distribution and insulin-stimulated glucose disposal.
Setting: Clinical research center.
Patient(s): Forty-five premenopausal women and 44 postmenopausal women.
Main outcome measure(s): C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were measured by ELISA. Intraabdominal, subcutaneous abdominal, and total fat were measured by computed tomographic scan and dual-photon x-ray absorptiometry. Insulin-stimulated glucose disposal was measured by euglycemic clamp.
Result(s): The TNF-alpha was higher in postmenopausal compared to premenopausal women (4.81 +/- 1.99 vs. 3.54 +/- 0.85 pg/mL). Interleukin-6 and CRP did not differ by menopausal status. In both premenopausal and postmenopausal women, CRP was related positively to total fat. The CRP was related to intraabdominal fat only in postmenopausal women and was negatively related to insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
Conclusion(s): Postmenopausal status is characterized by higher TNF-alpha. The CRP may be associated with increased cardiovascular risk in postmenopausal women by its association with higher intraabdominal fat. Higher CRP is associated with lower insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.