Adiponectin multimers, body weight and markers of cardiovascular risk in adolescence: Northern Ireland Young Hearts Project

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Research examining the relationship between adiponectin (AN) isoforms, body weight and cardiovascular (CV) risk factors is limited, particularly in younger populations.


To investigate the inter-relationships between AN isoforms and CV risk factors, and their dependence on body weight status, in adolescents.


Blood samples from 92 obese, 92 overweight and 92 normal weight age- and sex-matched adolescents were analysed for traditional cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk biomarkers and also total, high molecular weight (HMW), medium and low molecular weight (LMW) AN.


A significant inverse association was observed between total and HMW AN and waist-hip ratio (P = 0.015, P = 0.006, respectively), triglycerides (P = 0.003, P = 0.003, respectively) and systolic blood pressure (P = 0.012, P = 0.024, respectively) and a significant positive association with high-density lipoprotein (P <0.001, P<0.001, respectively) in multi-adjusted analyses. There was no evidence of a relationship between multimeric AN and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. There was also little evidence of a relationship between LMW AN and CVD risk factors. There was a strong, body mass index (BMI)-independent, association between AN, CVD biomarkers and the hypertriglyceridemic waist phenotype.


Prominent, BMI-independent associations between total and HMW AN, but not LMW AN, and CVD risk factors were already evident in this young population. This research in adolescents supports the contention that AN subfractions may have different biological actions. These associations in apparently healthy adolescents suggest an important role for AN and its subfractions in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome traits and indicate that the potential for total or HMW AN to act as early universal biomarkers of CV risk warrants further study.

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