African American women have higher levels of adiponectin compared to African American men with similar insulin resistance and visceral adiposity

Program: Abstracts - Orals, Featured Poster Presentations, and Posters
Session: SAT 677-696-Obesity Physiology & Epidemiology
Saturday, June 15, 2013: 1:45 PM-3:45 PM
Expo Halls ABC (Moscone Center)

Poster Board SAT-683
Eric Abston*1 and Srividya Kidambi2
1Medical College of Wisconsin, 2Med Coll of Wisconsin, Brookfield, WI
Introduction: Adiponectin (ADPN), secreted from adipose tissue, modulates a number of metabolic processes and may be cardioprotective. Lower levels are noted in obesity (especially visceral) and its associated ailments. Recently, paradoxical increase in ADPN was described in relation to obese with favorable metabolic profile among African Americans (AA), with women having higher ADPN levels (1). Since AA women have a unique body fat distribution with higher subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), we explored the relationship of adiponectin and adiposity compartments in the current study.   Methods: We recruited 81 healthy African American subjects (41% female) between the ages of 18-45 years. Demographics and anthropometric measurements were obtained.  Body fat percentage (BF %) was calculated using 7 point skin fold thickness. MRI was used to quantify SAT and visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Laboratory assessments included fasting glucose, insulin, and adiponectin levels. Insulin resistance index was calculated using homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR).  

Results: The mean age of the subjects was 32.1 ± 8 years, with an average BMI of 29.2 ± 6.5 Kg/m2 and waist circumference (WC) of 88.5 ± 14.4 cm. Women had higher BMI (p=0.04), waist to hip ratio (WHR) (p<0.001), thigh circumference (TC) (p =0.009), SAT (P<0.001), SAT/VAT ratio (<0.001), and BF% (<0.001). However, men and women did not differ in WC, HOMA-IR, and VAT volume. Mean ADPN levels were 7.2 ± 4.0 ug/mL, with women having significantly higher levels than men (8.4±0.6 vs. 6.5±0.6 ug/mL, p = 0.045). In the overall sample, ADPN correlated negatively with BMI, WC, WHR, VAT, and HOMA-IR.  In gender-specific analyses, WHR and HOMA-IR were negatively correlated with ADPN (p < 0.05) in both men and women. ADPN correlated negatively with BMI, WC, WHR, BF%, and VAT (p<0.05) in women, while the same relationships were trending negative but were not statistically significant in men. There was no relationship between SAT and ADPN in men, while a very strong negative relationship was noted in women (r=-0.58, p=0.005).  These relationships were tempered when SAT/VAT ratio was used in both men (r=0.27, p=0.16) and women (r=-0.17, p =0.44). 

Conclusion: AA women have higher adiponectin levels despite higher BMI and BF% and similar levels of visceral adiposity and insulin resistance comapred to AA men. This may explain better mortality and morbidity rates among AA women compared to men and women of other ethnic origin of comparable obesity.

1. Doumatey AP, Bentley AR, Zhou J, Huang H, Adeyemo A, Rotimi CN. Paradoxical Hyperadiponectinemia is Associated With the Metabolically Healthy Obese (MHO) Phenotype in African Americans. J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Apr 1;2(2):51-65.

Nothing to Disclose: EA, SK

*Please take note of The Endocrine Society's News Embargo Policy at

Sources of Research Support: American Heart Association National Clinical Research Program Grant awarded to SK