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29-03-2010 | Cardiometabolic | Article

Leptin-to-adiponectin ratio not preferable to individual adipokines in CV risk-prediction


Free abstract

MedWire News: The ratio of leptin to adiponectin (L:A) offers no additional information over levels of the individual adipokines in predicting atherosclerosis risk, Dutch researchers believe.

Their study of middle-aged men and women found that carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, was independently associated with adiponectin levels but not with the L:A ratio after controlling for the metabolic syndrome, diabetes status, and insulin resistance.

Robin Dullaart (University Medical Centre Groningen, The Netherlands) and co-workers investigated contradictory reports on the association between the plasma adipokines – leptin and adiponectin – and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

The participants were 161 adults, 72 of whom had the metabolic syndrome. Those with and without the syndrome differed in several respects; notably, leptin and the L:A ratio were higher, whereas adiponectin was lower in those with the metabolic syndrome.

In univariate analysis, insulin resistance was significantly associated with the L:A ratio; it was also associated, albeit more weakly, with leptin and adiponectin levels alone.

After adjusting for age and gender, adiponectin and the L:A ratio were significantly associated with carotid IMT. After accounting for the presence of the metabolic syndrome, however, only adiponectin levels remained a significant independent correlate of carotid IMT.

Similar findings were observed after adjusting for diabetes or insulin resistance.

“Our results, therefore, do not support the supposition that the L:A ratio is a preferable measure of atherosclerosis susceptibility compared to plasma adiponectin alone taking conventional risk factors into consideration,” conclude Dullaart and co-authors in the journal Atherosclerosis.

“Nonetheless… our findings would add to the concept of ‘reverse epidemiology,’ possibly involving compensatory mechanisms counteracting metabolic stress, which might explain the emerging paradox of absent or even a positive association of incident CVD with adiponectin.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Joanna Lyford