Two-year changes in circulating adiponectin, ectopic fat distribution and body composition in response to weight-loss diets: the POUNDS Lost Trial

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Adiponectin has a pivotal role in linking fat distribution with cardiometabolic disorders. We investigated the associations of long-term changes in circulating adiponectin with body composition and fat distribution at different abdominal depots in response to weight-loss dietary interventions, as well as the modification effect of sex.


In the 2-year Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies (POUNDS Lost) Trial, 811 overweight or obese adults were randomly assigned to one of four diets varying in macronutrient intakes. Circulating concentrations of adiponectin were repeatedly measured at baseline, 6 months and 2 years. Body composition and fat distribution were repeatedly measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan (n = 424) and computed tomography (n = 195).


Over the 2-year intervention, after adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, follow-up time, diet group, baseline body mass index and baseline level of respective outcome trait, increase of adiponectin was significantly associated with reduction of total fat mass (FM), total fat-free mass (FFM), whole body total percentage of fat mass (FM%), percentage of trunk fat (TF%), total adipose tissue (TAT), and adipose tissue mass at different depots including visceral (VAT), deep subcutaneous (DSAT) and superficial subcutaneous (SSAT; P<0.03 for each). The relations with FM, FM%, TF%, VAT and DSAT were significantly modified by sex (P for interaction = 0.02, 0.005 and <0.001, 0.002, 0.03, respectively) with greater reductions associated with increase of adiponectin in men than in women.


Long-term changes in circulating adiponectin were differentially associated with improvement of body composition and abdominal fat distribution in men and women.

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