Objective—Adipose tissue-derived inflammation may contribute to metabolic alterations and eventually to the metabolic syndrome (MetS). The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine the role of adipocytokines in the association between obesity and the MetS; and 2) to determine whether the association is different in obese and non-obese persons. Design—Cross-sectional population-based InCHIANTI study. Subjects—944 community-dwelling adults aged 65 years and older living in Tuscany, Italy. Measurements—Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2 and MetS as ≥ 3 of the ATP-III criteria. Circulating levels of CRP, IL-6, IL-1ra, IL-18, TNF-α R1, adiponectin, resistin, and leptin were measured. Additionally, insulin resistance was determined using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR). Results—The prevalence of the MetS was 32%. Both overall and abdominal obesity were significantly associated with the MetS after adjusting for inflammatory cytokines, adipokines and lifestyle factors. After adjusting for multiple confounders and HOMA-IR, IL-1ra, TNF-α R1 and adiponectin (p < 0.05) remained significantly associated with the MetS. Having multiple cytokines in the highest tertile increased the likelihood of having the MetS in both obese (p for trend 0.002) and non-obese persons (p for trend 0.001) independent of insulin resistance. Conclusions—Non-obese and obese individuals who develop an intense pro-inflammatory state may be more prone to develop the MetS than those with lower levels of inflammation.
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