Visceral Fat Produces Inflammatory Molecule, IL-6

Production of interleukin-6 in visceral fat may explain link between obesity, metabolic abnormalities

THURSDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- The visceral fat of obese patients appears to produce inflammatory chemicals such as interleukin-6 that can promote metabolic abnormalities, according to a study in the April issue of Diabetes.

Samuel Klein, M.D, of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed portal vein and radial artery blood samples from 25 extremely obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery.

When mean plasma interleukin-6 levels in the portal vein and radial artery were compared, they were about 50 percent higher in the vein, and these concentrations had a direct correlation with systemic C-reactive protein concentrations. Mean plasma leptin concentrations were about 20 percent lower in the portal vein compared with the radial artery.

"The results of the present studies support the notion that visceral fat is an important endocrine organ that is involved in the complex interrelationship between obesity and systemic inflammation," the authors wrote. "Our findings suggest that increased interleukin-6 secretion from visceral fat into the portal circulation is involved in the pathogenesis of systemic metabolic abnormalities associated with abdominal obesity."

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