Aim: Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and venous thromboembolism. Circulating procoagulant microparticles (MP) have been described in various clinical situations associated with thrombosis and in diabetic patients. The aim of this preliminary study was to evaluate the presence of MP in obese patients without any other vascular risk factor in particular diabetes.
Methods: Fifty-eight obese women <50 year-old without other cardiovascular risk factors were recruited from a single out-patient nutrition clinic. They were compared to 45 age-matched healthy normal weight controls. Main outcome was MP levels in patients and controls. Relationships between MP concentrations and parameters reflecting insulin resistance in patients were also studied.
Results: Obese patients were 33.3 +/- 1.2 years old and had a mean BMI of 42.4 +/- 0.9 kg/m2. There vas a greater proportion of smokers in the obese group (34.5 vs 15.6%). Mean MP levels were markedly higher in obese patients compared to controls (10.6 +/- 0.5 vs 3.2 +/- 0.3 nMPSeq, P < 0.001). There was no difference in MP concentrations between smokers and non smokers. In the obese group, there was a negative correlation between MP and BMI (r = -0.265, P < 0.05) but no relationship could be established between MP concentrations and markers of insulin resistance.
Conclusion: This increase in circulating MP levels reflects cell activation and could account for the increased risk of thrombotic complications in obesity. Further studies are ongoing to explore the relationships between MP levels and coagulation markers and to assess the effect of weight reduction.