Aim: Recent studies have suggested that the elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are associated with body fat, especially visceral adipose tissue, but most of them were investigated in Westerners who had higher body mass index (BMI) than Asians. To investigate the association between CRP concentrations, parameters of visceral obesity, the insulin resistance syndrome and carotid atherosclerosis in healthy Japanese who had a lower BMI than Westerners.
Methods: We explored the relationships between fatness and visceral obesity parameters [by anthropometry, bioelectrical impedance analysis and abdominal computed tomography (CT)] and CRP (high sensitivity) and examined their associations with components of insulin resistance syndrome, interleukin-6 (IL-6), tissue necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and intima-media thickness (IMT) of common carotid arteries (CCAs) by ultrasonograms in 116 healthy Japanese subjects.
Results: In crude regression analyses, CRP was significantly associated with measures of obesity. After adjustment for age, gender and smoking, the association with CRP was stronger for parameters of visceral obesity (waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and visceral adipose tissue accumulation) than for other parameters of obesity. IL-6 and TNF-alpha were not associated with CRP. Blood pressure (BP), metabolic variables and CCA-IMT were also significantly associated with CRP. But, after being adjusted for age, gender, smoking and BMI, BP and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLc) were significantly associated.
Conclusion: CRP level is associated with visceral adipose tissue and is significantly associated with the components of insulin resistance syndrome in healthy Japanese subjects. These data support a possible role of visceral adipose tissue in inflammation component of atherosclerosis, and further studies are needed to study the mechanism of CRP elevation caused by visceral adipose tissue.