Serum concentrations of soluble adhesion molecules, eg, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin are elevated in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about the role of obesity or abnormal fat distribution in inducing upregulation of adhesion molecules. To investigate this issue, soluble ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin levels were evaluated in 40 obese and 30 nonobese patients with type 2 diabetes. Both groups were matched for age, sex, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA(1c)) levels. Computed tomography (CT) was used to measure the abdominal subcutaneous and visceral fat areas. Soluble ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 levels did not differ significantly between obese and nonobese patients. However, serum concentrations of soluble E-selectin were significantly higher in obese than in nonobese patients (90 +/- 7 v 56 +/- 4 ng/mL, P <.01). Soluble E-selectin levels significantly correlated with body mass index, subcutaneous fat area, and visceral fat area (Rho = 0.48, 0.37, and 0.30, respectively). Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that body mass index (F = 16.7), but not subcutaneous and visceral fat areas (F = 0.29 and 0.01, respectively), significantly and independently correlated with soluble E-selectin levels. Our results suggest that obesity may induce endothelial activation or increased shedding of cell surface E-selectin that leads to subsequent increase in soluble E-selectin levels. The high serum concentrations of E-selectin closely correlated with increased total fat volume, but not with regional fat distribution.
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