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Fat Hormone Predicts Coronary Artery Calcium

Also predicted by insulin resistance measure in healthy adults

TUESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- High levels of the hormone leptin secreted by fat cells and a measure of insulin resistance are strong predictors of high coronary artery calcification in healthy asymptomatic adults at risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the results of a study in the July 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Atif Qasim, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues examined the association between plasma adipocytokines (adiponectin and leptin) and coronary artery calcification in 860 asymptomatic non-diabetic healthy adults (30 to 75 years old) with family histories of premature cardiovascular disease.

After adjustment for a number of demographic and clinical factors, including metabolic syndrome and plasma C-reactive protein, the researchers found that plasma leptin was positively associated with higher coronary artery calcification. Adiponectin levels were not associated with coronary artery calcification. Although metabolic markers including leptin, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor receptor-2, and the homeostasis model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index predicted coronary artery calcification scores, leptin and the HOMA-IR index were the strongest predictors beyond other risk factors, the report indicates.

"We found that plasma levels of leptin but not adiponectin were associated with coronary artery calcification after controlling for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, metabolic syndrome, and C-reactive protein levels," Qasim and colleagues conclude. "Finally, leptin levels and the HOMA-IR index had stronger associations with coronary artery calcification scores than other adipocytokines in this asymptomatic sample."

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