Gender differences in the association of visceral and subcutaneous adiposity with adiponectin in African Americans: The Jackson Heart Study

Aurelian Bidulescu, Jiankang Liu, De Marc A. Hickson, Kristen G. Hairston, Ervin R. Fox, Donna K. Arnett, Anne E. Sumner, Herman A. Taylor, Gary H. Gibbons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Background: Adiponectin, paradoxically reduced in obesity and with lower levels in African Americans (AA), modulates several cardiometabolic risk factors. Because abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT), known to be reduced in AA, and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) compartments may confer differential metabolic risk profiles, we investigated the associations of VAT and SAT with serum adiponectin, separately by gender, with the hypothesis that VAT is more strongly inversely associated with adiponectin than SAT.Methods: Participants from the Jackson Heart Study, an ongoing cohort of AA (n = 2,799; 64% women; mean age, 55 ± 11 years) underwent computer tomography assessment of SAT and VAT volumes, and had stored serum specimens analyzed for adiponectin levels. These levels were examined by gender in relation to increments of VAT and SAT.Results: Compared to women, men had significantly lower mean levels of adiponectin (3.9 ± 3.0 μg/mL vs. 6.0 ± 4.4 μg/mL; p < 0.01) and mean volume of SAT (1,721 ± 803 cm3 vs. 2,668 ± 968 cm3; p < 0.01) but significantly higher mean volume of VAT (884 ± 416 cm3 vs. 801 ± 363 cm3; p < 0.01). Among women, a one standard deviation increment in VAT was inversely associated with adiponectin (β = - 0.13; p < 0.0001) after controlling for age, systolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, education, pack-years of smoking and daily intake of alcohol. The statistically significant inverse association of VAT and adiponectin persisted after additionally adjusting for SAT, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), suggesting that VAT provides significant information above and beyond BMI and WC. Among men, after the same multivariable adjustment, there was a direct association of SAT and adiponectin (β = 0.18; p = 0.002) that persisted when controlling for BMI and WC, supporting a beneficial effect of SAT. Insulin resistance mediated the association of SAT with adiponectin in women.Conclusion: In African Americans, abdominal visceral adipose tissue had an inverse association with serum adiponectin concentrations only among women. Abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue appeared as a protective fat depot in men.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 22 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the other investigators, the staff, and the participants of the JHS study for their valuable contributions. A full list of participating JHS investigators and institutions can be found at Directory/tabid/55/Default.aspx. The Jackson Heart Study is supported and conducted in collaboration with Jackson State University (N01-HC-95170), University of Mississippi Medical Center (N01-HC-95171), and Tougaloo College (N01-HC-95172) NIH contracts from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) with additional support from NHLBI contract HL076784 and the National Institute of Aging (AG028321). This study was partially supported by PHS Award UL1 RR025008 from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources to the first author (A.B.) who was also supported by the NIH grant UH1 HL073461 provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The intramural program of NIDDK/NIH supported one of the authors (A.E.S). The results described in this article have been presented in part during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions Conference, November 2011 in Orlando, Florida.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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