Serum leptin, abdominal obesity and the metabolic syndrome in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury

Y Maruyama, M Mizuguchi, T Yaginuma, M Kusaka, H Yoshida, K Yokoyama, Y Kasahara, T Hosoya
Spinal Cord 2008, 46 (7): 494-9

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparison.

OBJECTIVE: The mortality rate is higher in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), and one major cause is cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the general population, the metabolic syndrome (MetS) is associated with an increased risk of CVD, and abdominal obesity is a major feature. Adipokines, secreted by adipose tissue, contribute to obesity-linked metabolic diseases. The aim of this study is to evaluate the prevalence of MetS, the components of this syndrome, especially body composition, and the relations between adipokines and body composition, in SCI individuals.

SETTING: Kanagawa Rehabilitation Hospital, Kanagawa, Japan.

METHODS: Forty-four male SCI individuals (57+/-13 years and 28 paraplegia) and age-matched able-bodied controls were studied. Body composition was assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and anthropometry (waist circumference). The visceral fat area (VFA) was measured by computed tomography (CT). Plasma adipokine levels, including that of leptin, adiponectin and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), were measured.

RESULTS: Overall, 43% of SCI individuals met the criteria for MetS. Total and regional fat mass (FM), as well as VFA, were higher, whereas total and regional lean mass, except for arm, were lower than able-bodied controls. In the SCI, leptin and PAI-1 levels were positively associated and adiponectin levels were negatively associated with waist circumference, VFA and trunk FM. In multiple regression models, only leptin level was independently associated with waist circumference, VFA and trunk FM.

CONCLUSION: SCI individuals were predisposed to excessive abdominal obesity, and higher leptin levels were strongly associated with higher prevalence of abdominal obesity in this population.

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