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Centrally located body fat is related to inflammatory markers in healthy postmenopausal women

Perry, Courtney D. MS, RD1; Alekel, D. Lee PhD1; Ritland, Laura M. BS1; Bhupathiraju, Shilpa N. MS1; Stewart, Jeanne W. MS1; Hanson, Laura N. MS1; Matvienko, Oksana A. PhD2; Kohut, Marian L. PhD3; Reddy, Manju B. PhD1; Van Loan, Marta D. PhD4; Genschel, Ulrike PhD5

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318159f1a2
Articles

Objective: C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk factors. These acute-phase proteins and the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1β may be elevated in obesity and with menopause. The purpose of this multicenter study was to identify whether centrally located fat and/or overall adiposity were related to these inflammatory markers in healthy postmenopausal women.

Design: We used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry to assess overall and regional body composition (fat mass in particular) in 242 postmenopausal women in relation to plasma fibrinogen, serum C-reactive protein, and these proinflammatory cytokines.

Results: Multiple regression analyses revealed that 36% of the variability in C-reactive protein (F = 32.4, P ≤ 0.0001) was accounted for by androidal fat mass (16.1%, P ≤ 0.0001), white blood cells (5.6%, P ≤ 0.0001), and age (2.3%, P = 0.0045). Regression analyses revealed that 30% of the variability in fibrinogen (F = 24.5, P ≤ 0.0001) was accounted for by white blood cells (3.1%, P = 0.0015), hip fat mass (2.2%, P = 0.0081), years since menopause (0.9%, P = 0.082), and geographic site (P ≤ 0.0001). Our results indicated that androidal fat mass and hip fat mass contributed to C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, respectively, whereas we found no association between whole-body or regional fat measures and cytokines.

Conclusion: Further study is warranted to determine the responsiveness of these acute-phase proteins and cytokines to loss of body fat through exercise and dietary intervention in postmenopausal women.

The purpose of this multicenter study was to identify whether centrally located fat and/or overall adiposity were related to C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6, and interleukin-1β in healthy postmenopausal women. Our results indicated that androidal fat mass and hip fat mass, respectively, contributed to C-reactive protein and fibrinogen, whereas we found no association between whole-body or regional fat measures and cytokines.

Received July 27, 2007; revised and accepted August 29, 2007.

From the 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Human Metabolic Unit, Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; 2School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA; 3Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA; 4U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Western Human Nutrition Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA; and 5Department of Statistics, Iowa State University, Ames, IA.

Funding/support: The overall project described was supported by a grant (RO1 AR046922 A2) from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. It was also supported by a grant (P01 ES012020) from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and by a grant (95P50AT004155) from the National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine and ODS of the National Institutes of Health. Support was also provided by a special grant (2006 3411517184) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition at Iowa State University, by the USDA/Agricultural Research Service, Western Human Nutrition Research Center, and the Clinical Research Center at the University of California, Davis (1M01RR19975-01), and the National Center for Medical Research (UL1 RR024146). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of these granting agencies.

Financial disclosure: None reported.

Reprints of this article are not available.

Address correspondence to: D. Lee Alekel, PhD, Human Metabolic Unit, Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, 1127 Human Nutritional Sciences Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: alekel@iastate.edu

©2008The North American Menopause Society