Objective: To test whether leptin and adiponectin are risk markers for a first-ever stroke. RESEARCH DESIGN, METHODS AND SUBJECTS: A nested case-referent study identified 276 cases with first-ever stroke (234 cases with ischaemic and 42 with haemorrhagic stroke). Prior to the stroke, they had participated in population-based health surveys in northern Sweden (median time between survey and stroke was 4.9 years). Referents were matched for sex, age, date and type of health survey, and geographical region. Putative risk markers for first-ever stroke, including blood pressure (BP), diabetes, smoking, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, leptin, and adiponectin, were analysed by conditional logistic regression analysis.
Results: Increased BMI, high cholesterol and fasting glucose levels, diabetes mellitus and hypertension were found in future stroke patients. Whereas leptin levels were higher in male subjects (P = 0.004), adiponectin did not differ between groups. A high leptin level independently predicted stroke in men (OR = 2.46; 95% CI 1.08-5.62) but not in women. Adiponectin levels did not predict stroke. Males with high leptin levels developed stroke faster than males with low leptin levels (P = 0.0009), independently of traditional risk factors.
Conclusions: Leptin may be an important link to the development of cerebrovascular disease in men, whereas adiponectin does not associate with future stroke.