Among inflammation and coagulation markers, PAI-1 is a true component of the metabolic syndrome

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To investigate whether leukocyte count, fibrinogen, von Willebrand factor (vWF) and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity (PAI-1) are increased in subjects with the metabolic syndrome as defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).


Cross-sectional study.


A total of 520 overweight and obese subjects: 379 women and 141 men, visiting the weight management clinic of a University Hospital.

Subjects and measurements:

Waist circumference, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and fasting glucose were determined, and the presence or absence of the metabolic syndrome according to the NCEP-ATPIII criteria was assessed. In 349 subjects, data on the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and albumin excretion rate were available and the WHO criteria were applied. Insulin resistance was defined using the HOMA-IR index.


Subjects with the metabolic syndrome according to the NCEP-ATPIII criteria had significantly higher levels of leukocyte count (P<0.001) and PAI-1 (P<0.001), while no significant differences were found for fibrinogen or vWF (P>0.05). Using the WHO criteria, similar results were found except for vWF, where higher levels were found in subjects with the metabolic syndrome. When subjects were classified according to the number of components of the metabolic syndrome, levels of leukocyte count, vWF and PAI-1 activity were significantly different (P<0.05). In logistic regression analysis PAI-1, gender and leukocyte count were independent determinants of the metabolic syndrome (P<0.001).


Evidence for being a true component of the metabolic syndrome is strong for PAI-1, less for leukocyte count and weak for vWF and fibrinogen.

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