Prediction of circulating adipokine levels based on body fat compartments and adipose tissue gene expression


  • S. Konigorski
  • J. Janke
  • D. Drogan
  • M.M. Bergmann
  • J. Hierholzer
  • R. Kaaks
  • H. Boeing
  • T. Pischon


  • Obesity Facts


  • Obes Facts 12 (6): 590-605


  • BACKGROUND: Adipokines are hormones secreted from adipose tissue (AT), and a number of them have been established as risk factors for chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether and to what extent adiposity, gene expression, and other factors determine their circulating levels. OBJECTIVES: To assess to what extent adiposity, as measured by the amount of subcutaneous AT (SAT) and visceral AT (VAT) using magnetic resonance imaging, and gene expression levels in SAT determine plasma concentrations of the adipokines adiponectin, leptin, soluble leptin receptor, resistin, interleukin 6, and fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4). METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 156 participants from the EPIC Potsdam cohort study and analyzed multiple regression models and partial correlation coefficients. RESULTS: For leptin and FABP4 concentrations, 81 and 45% variance were explained by SAT mass, VAT mass, and gene expression in SAT in multivariable regression models. For the remaining adipokines, AT mass and gene expression explained <16% variance of plasma concentrations. Gene expression in SAT was a less important predictor compared to AT mass. SAT mass was a better predictor than VAT mass for leptin (partial correlation r = 0.81, 95% confidence interval 0.75–0.86, vs. r = 0.58, 95% confidence interval 0.46–0.67), while differences between AT compartments were small for the other adipokines. CONLUSIONS: While plasma levels of leptin and FABP4 can be explained in a large and medium part by the amount of AT and SAT gene expression, surprisingly, these predictors explained only little variance for all other investigated adipokines.