Adipocytokines and the metabolic syndrome among older persons with and without obesity: the InCHIANTI study

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Jul;73(1):55-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03742.x.


Objectives: Adipose tissue-derived inflammation may contribute to metabolic alterations and eventually to the metabolic syndrome (MetS). The purpose of this study was to: (1) examine the role of adipocytokines in the association between obesity and the MetS and (2) to determine whether the association is different in obese and non-obese persons.

Design: Cross-sectional population-based InCHIANTI study.

Subjects: A total of 944 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older living in Tuscany, Italy.

Measurements: Obesity was defined as body mass index > or =30 kg/m2 and MetS as > or =3 of the ATP-III criteria. Circulating levels of C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), IL-18, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha R1, adiponectin, resistin and leptin were measured. Additionally, insulin resistance was determined using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR).

Results: The prevalence of the MetS was 32%. Both overall and abdominal obesity were significantly associated with the MetS after adjusting for inflammatory cytokines, adipokines and lifestyle factors. After adjusting for multiple confounders and HOMA-IR, IL-1ra, TNF-alpha R1 and adiponectin (P < 0.05) remained significantly associated with the MetS. Having multiple cytokines in the highest tertile increased the likelihood of having the MetS in both obese (P for trend 0.002) and non-obese persons (P for trend 0.001) independent of insulin resistance.

Conclusions: Non-obese and obese individuals who develop an intense pro-inflammatory state may be more prone to develop the MetS than those with lower levels of inflammation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / physiology*
  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein / blood
  • Interleukin-18 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / complications
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I / blood
  • Resistin / blood


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Interleukin 1 Receptor Antagonist Protein
  • Interleukin-18
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Type I
  • Resistin
  • C-Reactive Protein