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Schmidt, Frank M.; Weschenfelder, Julia; Sander, Christian; Minkwitz, Juliane; Thormann, Julia; Chittka, Tobias; Mergl, Roland; Kirkby, Kenneth C.; Fasshauer, Mathias; Stumvoll, Michael; Holdt, Lesca M.; Teupser, Daniel; Hegerl, Ulrich and Himmerich, Hubertus (2015): Inflammatory Cytokines in General and Central Obesity and Modulating Effects of Physical Activity.
In: PLOS ONE 10(3), e0121971 [PDF, 238kB]


Context Chronic systemic inflammation in obesity originates from local immune responses in visceral adipose tissue. However, assessment of a broad range of inflammation-mediating cytokines and their relationship to physical activity and adipometrics has scarcely been reported to date. Objective To characterize the profile of a broad range of pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines and the impact of physical activity and energy expenditure in individuals with general obesity, central obesity, and non-obese subjects. Design, Setting, and Participants A cross-sectional study comprising 117 obese patients (body mass index (BMI) >= 30) and 83 non-obese community-based volunteers. Main Outcomes Measures Serum levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF),interferon (IFN)-gamma and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha were measured. Physical activity and energy expenditure (MET) were assessed with actigraphy. Adipometrics comprised BMI, weight, abdominal-, waist-and hip-circumference, waist to hip ratio (WHR),and waist-to-height-ratio (WHtR). Results General obesity was associated with significantly elevated levels of IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, central obesity with significantly elevated IL-5, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13 and IFN-gamma-levels. In participants with general obesity, levels of IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13 were significantly elevated in participants with low physical activity, even when controlled for BMI which was negatively associated with physical acitivity. Cytokines significantly correlated with adipometrics, particularly in obese participants. Conclusions Results confirm up-regulation of certain pro-and anti-inflammatory cytokines in obesity. In obese subjects, physical activity may lower levels and thus reduce pro-inflammatory effects of cytokines that may link obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes.

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