Relationship Between 12 Adipocytokines and Distinct Components of the Metabolic Syndrome

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Mar 1;103(3):1015-1023. doi: 10.1210/jc.2017-02085.


Objective: Adipose tissue-derived signals potentially link obesity and adipose tissue dysfunction with metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Although some adipocytokines have been closely related to metabolic and cardiovascular traits, it is unknown which adipocytokine or adipocytokine clusters serve as meaningful markers of metabolic syndrome (MS) components. Therefore, this study investigated the associations of 12 adipocytokines with components of the MS to identify the most relevant cytokines potentially related to specific metabolic profiles.

Research design and methods: Twelve cytokines [adiponectin, adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (AFABP), angiopoietin-related growth factor, chemerin, fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 19, FGF21, FGF23, insulin-like growth factor-1, interleukin 10, irisin, progranulin, and vaspin] were quantified in a cross-sectional cohort of 1046 subjects. Hypothesis-free cluster analysis, multivariate regression analyses with parameters of the MS, and discriminant analysis were performed to assess associations and the relative importance of each cytokine for reflecting MS and its components.

Results: Among the studied adipocytokines, adiponectin, AFABP, chemerin, and FGF21 showed the strongest associations with MS and several MS components in discriminant analyses and multiple regression models. For certain metabolic components, these adipocytokines were better discriminators than routine metabolic markers. Other cytokines investigated in the present cohort are less able to distinguish between metabolically healthy and unhealthy subjects.

Conclusions: Adiponectin, AFABP, chemerin, and FGF21 showed the strongest associations with MS components in a general population, suggesting that adverse adipose tissue function is a major contributor to these metabolic abnormalities. Future prospective studies should address the question whether these adipocytokines can predict the development of metabolic disease states.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood*
  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chemokines / blood
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / blood
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / blood
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / blood
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokines
  • FABP4 protein, human
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • chemerin protein, human
  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors