Background: Chemotactic cytokines, referred to as chemokines, play an important role in leukocyte trafficking. The circulating levels of chemokines have been shown to increase in inflammatory processes including obesity-related pathologies (e.g. atherosclerosis and diabetes). However, little is currently known about the relationship between chemokines and human obesity. In the present study, we investigated the circulating levels of selected chemokines (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha), leukotactin-1, interleukin-8 (IL-8)) and the association between the chemokine levels and obesity-related parameters: body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, fasting glucose and insulin levels, lipids profile, and the level of C-reactive protein (CRP).
Methods: A total of 100 subjects, 50 obese (BMI>or=25 kg/m2) and 50 who were not obese (BMI<25 kg/m2) participated in the present study. The levels of chemokines and CRP were measured in a fasting state serum by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triglyceride, glucose, and insulin levels were measured by enzymatic analysis and immunoassay.
Results: The circulating levels of MCP-1 and IL-8 in the serum were significantly (P<0.05) higher in obese subjects (BMI>30 kg/m2) compared with those of nonobese controls (BMI<25 kg/m2). The levels of CRP were positively correlated with BMI (P<0.001) or waist circumference (P<0.0001). The levels of MCP-1 and IL-8 were positively related to BMI (MCP-1, P<0.02; IL-8, P<0.01) and/or waist circumference (MCP-1, P<0.009; IL-8, P<0.03). The levels of MCP-1 were positively related to the levels of CRP (P<0.007) or interleukin-6 (IL-6) (P<0.0001), and negatively related to the levels of HDL-cholesterol (P<0.01). Homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) score was positively related to the levels of MCP-1 (P<0.02) or IL-8 (P<0.03) in obese subject.
Discussion: Our data demonstrated that the circulating levels of MCP-1 and IL-8 are related to obesity-related parameters such as BMI, waist circumference, CRP, IL-6, HOMA and HDL-cholesterol. These findings suggest that the circulating MCP-1 and/or IL-8 may be a potential candidate linking obesity with obesity-related metabolic complications such as atherosclerosis and diabetes.