Context: Postmenopausal women have greater visceral adiposity compared with premenopausal women. Adipokines are associated with increased adiposity, insulin resistance, and atherosclerosis.
Objective: The objective of the study was to assess changes in adipokines and inflammatory markers through the menopausal transition and correlate them with changes in visceral adiposity.
Design and setting: This was a prospective cohort study of women through the menopausal transition conducted at the University of Washington.
Participants: Sixty-nine healthy women were followed up longitudinally from premenopausal (aged 45-55 yr) to postmenopausal status (aged 49-60 yr).
Outcome: On premenopausal and postmenopausal visits, fasting blood was drawn for adiponectin, leptin, serum amyloid A (SAA), C-reactive protein (CRP), monocyte-chemotactic protein-1, tissue plasminogen activator antigen (tPA), IL-6, and TNF-alpha. Body composition measures were assessed by body mass index, whole-body dual x-ray absorptiometry scan, and computed tomography scan of the abdomen at the lumbar 4-5 level.
Results: Women had a statistically significant increase in SAA, tPA, monocyte-chemotactic protein-1, and adiponectin between the two measurement occasions (P = 0.04, P = 0.02, P = 0.001, and P < 0.001, respectively). The increase in intraabdominal fat was correlated positively with the change in SAA (r = 0.31, P = 0.02), CRP (r = 0.56, P < 0.001), tPA (r = 0.40, P = 0.002), and leptin (r = 0.41, P = 0.002) and negatively correlated with the change in adiponectin (r = -0.37, P = 0.005). After adjustment for change in sc abdominal fat, the correlation between change in CRP, tPA, leptin, and adiponectin remained significantly associated with change in intraabdominal fat.
Conclusions: Women going through the menopausal transition have deleterious changes in inflammatory markers and adipokines that correlate with increased visceral adiposity.