Association between inflammatory and obesity markers in a Swiss population-based sample (CoLaus Study)

Obes Facts. 2012;5(5):734-44. doi: 10.1159/000345045. Epub 2012 Oct 23.


Objective: To assess the associations between obesity markers (BMI, waist circumference and %body fat) and inflammatory markers (interleukin-1β (IL-1β); interleukin-6 (IL-6); tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP)).

Methods: Population sample of 2,884 men and 3,201 women aged 35-75 years. Associations were assessed using ridge regression adjusting for age, leisure-time physical activity, and smoking.

Results: No differences were found in IL-1β levels between participants with increased obesity markers and healthy counterparts; multivariate regression showed %body fat to be negatively associated with IL-1β. Participants with high %body fat or abdominal obesity had higher IL-6 levels, but no independent association between IL-6 levels and obesity markers was found on multivariate regression. Participants with abdominal obesity had higher TNF-α levels, and positive associations were found between TNF-α levels and waist circumference in men and between TNF-α levels and BMI in women. Obese participants had higher hs-CRP levels, and these differences persisted after multivariate adjustment; similarly, positive associations were found between hs-CRP levels and all obesity markers studied.

Conclusion: Obesity markers are differentially associated with cytokine levels. %Body fat is negatively associated with IL-1β; BMI (in women) and waist circumference (in men) are associated with TNF-α; all obesity markers are positively associated with hs-CRP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / epidemiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / blood
  • Waist Circumference*


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • C-Reactive Protein