Adiponectin exhibits cardioprotective properties in experimental studies, but elevated levels have been linked to increased mortality in older adults and patients with chronic heart failure (HF). The adipokine's association with new-onset HF remains less well defined. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of total and high-molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin with incident HF (n = 780) and, in a subset, echocardiographic parameters in a community-based cohort of adults aged ≥65 years. Total and HMW adiponectin were measured in 3,228 subjects without prevalent HF, atrial fibrillation or CVD. The relations of total and HMW adiponectin with HF were nonlinear, with significant associations observed only for concentrations greater than the median (12.4 and 6.2 mg/L, respectively). After adjustment for potential confounders, the hazard ratios per SD increment in total adiponectin were 0.93 (95% confidence interval 0.72 to 1.21) for concentrations less than the median and 1.25 (95% confidence interval 1.14 to 1.38) higher than the median. There was a suggestion of effect modification by body mass index, whereby the association appeared strongest in participants with lower body mass indexes. Consistent with the HF findings, higher adiponectin tended to be associated with left ventricular systolic dysfunction and left atrial enlargement. Results were similar for HMW adiponectin. In conclusion, total and HMW adiponectin showed comparable relations with incident HF in this older cohort, with a threshold effect of increasing risk occurring at their median concentrations. High levels of adiponectin may mark or mediate age-related processes that lead to HF in older adults.
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