Sex difference and the role of leptin in the association between high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and adiposity in two different populations

Eur J Epidemiol. 2012 May;27(5):379-84. doi: 10.1007/s10654-012-9671-0. Epub 2012 Mar 6.


Elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but this association seems to be largely mediated via conventional cardiovascular risk factors. In particular, the association between hs-CRP and obesity has been extensively demonstrated and correlations are stronger in women than men. We used fractional polynomials--a method that allows flexible modeling of non linear relations--to investigate the dose/response mathematical relationship between hs-CRP and several indicators of adiposity in Caucasians (Switzerland) and Africans (Seychelles) surveyed in two population-based studies. This relationship was non-linear exhibiting a steeper slope for low levels of hs-CRP and a higher level in women. The observed sex difference in the relationship between hs-CRP and adiposity almost disappeared upon adjustment for leptin, suggesting that these sex differences might be partially mediated, by leptin. All these relationship were similar in Caucasians and Africans. This is the first report on a non-linear relation, stratified by gender, between hs-CRP and adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Seychelles
  • Switzerland


  • Biomarkers
  • Leptin
  • C-Reactive Protein