Plasma interleukin-8 concentrations are increased in obese subjects and related to fat mass and tumor necrosis factor-alpha system

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Oct;87(10):4602-6. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-020135.


Obesity is associated with the increased risk of cardiovascular disease; however, mechanisms responsible for such an increase are not fully understood. IL-8 is a cytokine that might have atherogenic properties. Recent in vitro studies revealed that IL-8 is produced and secreted by human adipocytes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate plasma IL-8 concentrations in obese subjects and the relationships between circulating IL-8 and anthropometric and biochemical parameters and TNF-alpha system. A total of 75 subjects with normal glucose tolerance, 35 lean and 40 obese, were recruited for this study. Plasma IL-8 levels were measured in fasting state, after an oral glucose tolerance test and after the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. A significant increase in plasma IL-8 was observed in the obese group. In simple regression analysis, performed for the initial evaluation of relationships, plasma IL-8 was related to body mass index, percentage of body fat, fat mass (FM), and soluble TNF-alpha receptor 2 (sTNFR2) in both groups and with waist-to-hip ratio and sTNFR1 in the obese. In multiple regression analysis, FM, waist-to-hip ratio, gender, sTNFR2, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol were responsible for 44% of IL-8 variability. During oral glucose tolerance testing, mean plasma IL-8 concentrations increased in both groups, whereas clamp resulted in a significant increase in plasma IL-8 only in the obese. We conclude that plasma IL-8 levels are increased in obese subjects, and are related to FM and TNF-alpha system. Increase in circulating IL-8 might be one of the factors linking obesity with greater cardiovascular risk.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD / blood
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Female
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / blood
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-8
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type II
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha