Lower serum adiponectin levels in African-American boys

Obes Res. 2003 Nov;11(11):1384-90. doi: 10.1038/oby.2003.187.


Objective: To examine adiponectin, an adipocyte-secreted hormone with anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects, in relation to race or gender in younger subjects.

Research methods and procedures: The relationship of adiponectin, quantitated by radioimmunoassay, to anthropometric and metabolic factors (fasting insulin, glucose, and leptin) and reproductive hormones was examined in 46 healthy African Americans (25 girls/21 boys) and 40 whites (20 girls/20 boys) ranging in age from 12 to 21 years.

Results: There was no statistical difference in BMI or in BMI percentile among the four groups. Sums of skinfolds, but not skinfold percentile, were significantly lower in boys than girls (p = 0.001 and p = 0.896, respectively), whereas there was no difference between racial groups. Leptin was significantly greater in girls (p = 0.0002). There was no difference in fasting serum glucose, insulin, or homeostasis model assessment score among any of the groups. There was a significant negative univariate relationship between serum adiponectin and both BMI and BMI percentile for the entire group (p = 0.006 and p = 0.005). In a multivariate model, BMI percentile (p = 0.005) and the interaction between race and gender (p = 0.026) were significant predictors of serum adiponectin. In this model, African-American boys had the lowest serum adiponectin level, 37% less than white boys, who had the highest adiponectin levels.

Discussion: Serum adiponectin levels are reduced in young obese subjects (African Americans and whites) and are lower in African-American boys than white boys. A lower adiponectin level in African-American boys may predispose this group to a greater risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Estradiol / blood
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Adiponectin
  • Insulin
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Proteins
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol