Adipocyte-derived hormones and cardiovascular disease

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå universitet

Abstract: Obesity is increasing globally and related to major changes in lifestyle. This increase is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Knowledge about adipose tissue as a metabolic-endocrine organ has increased during the last few decades. Adipose tissue produces a number of proteins with increased body weight, many of which are important for food intake and satiety, insulin sensitivity, and vessel integrity, and aberrations have been related to atherosclerosis. Notably, the risk for developing CVD over the course of a lifetime differs between men and women. In Northern Sweden, men have a higher risk for myocardial infarction (MI). However, the incidence is declining in men but not in women. These sex differences could be due to functional and anatomical differences in the fat mass and its functions.The primary aim of this thesis was to evaluate associations between the adipocyte-derived hormones leptin and adiponectin, and fibrinolysis and other variables associated with the metabolic syndrome, and particularly whether these associations differ between men and women. Another aim was to evaluate these associations during physical exercise and pharmacological intervention (i.e. enalapril). Finally, whether leptin and adiponectin predict a first MI or sudden cardiac death with putative sex differences was also investigated.The first study used a cross-sectional design and included 72 men and women  recruited from the WHO MONICA project. We found pronounced sex differences in the associations with fibrinolytic variables. Leptin was associated with fibrinolytic factors in men, whereas insulin resistance was strongly associated with all fibrinolytic factors in women. The second study was an experimental observational study with 20 men exposed to strenuous physical exercise. During exercise, leptin levels decreased and adiponectin levels increased, and both were strongly associated with an improved fibrinolytic capacity measured as decreased PAI-1 activity. Changes in insulin sensitivity were not associated with changing adiponectin levels. The third study was a randomised, double-blind, single centre clinical trial including 46 men and 37 women who had an earlier MI. The study duration was one year, and participating subjects were randomised to either placebo or ACE inhibitor (i.e. enalapril). Circulating leptin levels were not associated with enalapril treatment. During the one-year study, changes in leptin levels were associated with changes in circulating levels of tPA mass, PAI-1 mass, and tPA-PAI complex in men, but not vWF. These associations were found in all men and men on placebo treatment. In women on enalapril treatment there was an association between changes in leptin and changes in vWF. In the fourth study, the impact of leptin, adiponectin, and their ratio on future MI risk or sudden cardiac death was tested in a prospective nested casecontrol study within the framework of the WHO MONICA, Västerbotten Intervention Project (VIP), and Västerbotten  Mammary Screening Program (MSP). A total 564 cases (first-ever MI or sudden cardiac death) and 1082 matched controls were selected. High leptin, low adiponectin, and a high leptin/adiponectin ratio independently predicted a first-ever MI, possibly with higher risk in men in regards to leptin. The association was found for non-fatal cases with ST-elevation MI. Subjects with low adiponectin levels had their MI earlier than those with high levels.In conclusion, the adipocyte-derived hormones leptin and adiponectin are related to the development of CVD with a sex difference, and fibrinolytic mechanisms could be possible contributors to CVD risk.