Prospective relation of circulating adipokines to incident metabolic syndrome: The Framingham heart study

Justin P. Zachariah, Rene Quiroz, Kerrie P. Nelson, Zhaoyang Teng, John F. Keaney, Lisa M. Sullivan, Ramachandran S. Vasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background-Adipokines are elaborated by adipose tissue and are associated with glycemic, lipid, and vascular traits. We hypothesized that in a cross-sectional analysis circulating adipokines are altered among subsets of obesity stratified by presence versus absence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and prospectively predict the incidence of MetS. Methods and Results-Participants in the community-based Framingham Third Generation Cohort who attended examination cycle 1 were included in the study (2002-2005; N=3777, mean age, 40 years; 59% women). Circulating adiponectin, leptin, leptin receptor, fetuin-A, fatty acid-binding protein 4, and retinol binding protein 4 were assayed and related to incident MetS in follow-up (mean 6 years). The adipokines were compared among individuals with excess body weight (body mass index ≥25 kg/m2) and prevalent MetS, excess body weight without MetS (metabolically healthy obese), and normal-weight with MetS (metabolically obese, normal-weight) with normal-weight participants without MetS as a referent. Metabolically healthy obese individuals (n=1467) had higher circulating levels of fetuin-A and fatty acid-binding protein 4 but lower levels of leptin, leptin receptor, and adiponectin (P < 0.001 for all). The adipokine panel was associated with incident MetS (263 new-onset cases; P=0.002). Higher circulating concentrations of retinol-binding protein 4 and fetuin-A were associated with incidence of MetS (odds ratio per 1-SD increment log marker, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.03-1.41 [P=0.02] and 1.17; 95% CI, 1.01-1.34 [P=0.03], respectively). Conclusions-In our community-based sample of young to middle-aged adults, metabolically healthy obese individuals demonstrated an adverse adipokine profile. Higher circulating levels of retinol-binding protein 4 and fetuin-A marked future cardiometabolic risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere004974
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipokine
  • Epidemiology
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Obesity
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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