Relationship between Hepatokines and Insulin Resistance in Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is an important clinical problem, because it may lead to chronic diseases during the adulthood period of the individual. Obesity is a metabolic disease associated with low-grade inflammation. The liver occurs at the center of metabolic pathways. Adropin, fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21) and fetuin A are hepatokines. Due to the immense participation of the liver in glucose metabolism, these liver derived factors may be associated with insulin resistance (IR), which is a phenomenon discussed within the scope of obesity problems. The aim of this study is to determine the concentrations of adropin, FGF-21 and fetuin A in childhood obesity, to point out possible differences between the obesity groups and to investigate possible associations among these three hepatokines in obese and morbid obese children. A total of 132 children were included in the study. Two obese groups were constituted. The groups were matched in terms of mean±SD values of ages. Body mass index values of the obese and morbid obese groups were 25.0±3.5 kg/m2 and 29.8±5.7 kg/m2, respectively. Anthropometric measurements including waist circumference, hip circumference, head circumference, and neck circumference were recorded. Informed consent forms were taken from the parents of the participants and the Ethics Committee of the institution approved the study protocol. Blood samples were obtained after an overnight fasting. Routine biochemical tests including glucose- and lipid-related parameters were performed. Concentrations of the hepatokines (adropin, FGF-21, fetuin A) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Insulin resistance indices such as homeostasis model assessment for IR (HOMA-IR), alanine transaminase-to aspartate transaminase ratio (ALT/AST), diagnostic obesity notation model assessment laboratory index, diagnostic obesity notation model assessment metabolic syndrome index as well as obesity indices such as diagnostic obesity notation model assessment-II index, and fat mass index were calculated using the previously derived formulas. Statistical evaluation of the study data as well as findings of the study were performed by SPSS for Windows. Statistical difference was accepted significant when p < 0.05. Statistically significant differences were found for insulin, triglyceride, high density lipoprotein cholesterol levels of the groups. A significant increase was observed for FGF-21 concentrations in the morbid obese group. Higher adropin and fetuin A concentrations were observed in the same group in comparison with the values detected in the obese group (p > 0.05). There was no statistically significant difference between the ALT/AST values of the groups. In all of the remaining IR and obesity indices, significantly increased values were calculated for morbid obese children. Significant correlations were detected between HOMA-IR and each of the hepatokines. The highest one was the association with fetuin A (r = 0.373, p = 0.001). In conclusion, increased levels observed in adropin, FGF-21 and fetuin A have shown that these hepatokines possess increasing potential going from the obese to morbid obese state. Out of the correlations found with IR index, the most affected hepatokine was fetuin A, the parameter possibly used as the indicator of the advanced obesity stage.

The Association of Vitamin B₁₂ with Body Weight-and Fat-Based Indices in Childhood Obesity

Vitamin deficiencies are common in obese individuals. Particularly, the status of vitamin B12 and its association with vitamin B9 (folate) and vitamin D is under investigation in recent time. Vitamin B12 is closely related to many vital processes in the body. In clinical studies, its involvement in fat metabolism draws attention from the obesity point of view. Obesity, in its advanced stages and in combination with metabolic syndrome (MetS) findings, may be a life-threatening health problem. Pediatric obesity is particularly important, because it may be a predictor of the severe chronic diseases during adulthood period of the child. Due to its role in fat metabolism, vitamin B12 deficiency may disrupt metabolic pathways of the lipid and energy metabolisms in the body. The association of low B12 levels with obesity degree may be an interesting topic to be investigated. Obesity indices may be helpful at this point. Weight- and fat-based indices are available. Of them, body mass index (BMI) is in the first group. Fat mass index (FMI), fat-free mass index (FFMI) and diagnostic obesity notation model assessment-II (D2I) index lie in the latter group. The aim of this study is to clarify possible associations between vitamin B12 status and obesity indices in pediatric population. The study comprises a total of 122 children. 32 children were included in the normal-body mass index (N-BMI) group. 46 and 44 children constitute groups with morbid obese children without MetS and with MetS, respectively. Informed consent forms and the approval of the institutional ethics committee were obtained. Tables prepared for obesity classification by World Health Organization were used. MetS criteria were defined. Anthropometric and blood pressure measurements were taken. BMI, FMI, FFMI, D2I were calculated. Routine laboratory tests were performed. Vitamin B9, B12, D concentrations were determined. Statistical evaluation of the study data was performed. Vitamin B9 and vitamin D levels were reduced in MetS group compared to children with N-BMI (p > 0.05). Significantly lower values were observed in vitamin B12 concentrations of MetS group (p < 0.01). Upon evaluation of blood pressure as well as triglyceride levels, there exist significant increases in morbid obese children. Significantly decreased concentrations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were observed. All of the obesity indices and insulin resistance index exhibit increasing tendency with the severity of obesity. Inverse correlations were calculated between vitamin D and insulin resistance index as well as vitamin B12 and D2I in morbid obese groups. In conclusion, a fat-based index, D2I, was the most prominent body index, which shows strong correlation with vitamin B12 concentrations in the late stage of obesity in children. A negative correlation between these two parameters was a confirmative finding related to the association between vitamin B12 and obesity degree. 

Hematologic Inflammatory Markers and Inflammation-Related Hepatokines in Pediatric Obesity

Obesity in children particularly draws attention, because it may threaten the individual’s future life due to many chronic diseases it may lead to. Most of these diseases including obesity itself altogether are related to inflammation. For this reason, inflammation-related parameters gain importance. Within this context, complete blood cell counts, ratios or indices derived from these counts have recently found some platform to be used as inflammatory markers. So far, mostly adipokines were investigated within the field of obesity. Metabolic inflammation is closely associated with cellular dysfunction. In this study, hematologic inflammatory markers and cytokines produced predominantly by the liver (fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21) and fetuin A) were investigated in pediatric obesity. Two groups were constituted from 76 obese children based on World Health Organization criteria. Group 1 was composed of children, whose age- and sex-adjusted body mass index (BMI) percentiles were between 95 and 99. Group 2 consists of children, who are above 99th percentile. The first and the latter groups were defined as obese (OB) and morbid obese (MO). Anthropometric measurements of the children were performed. Informed consent forms and the approval of the institutional ethics committee were obtained. Blood cell counts and ratios were determined by automated hematology analyzer. The related ratios and indexes were calculated. Statistical evaluation of the data was performed by SPSS program. There was no statistically significant difference in terms of neutrophil-to lymphocyte ratio, monocyte-to-high density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio between the groups. Mean platelet volume and platelet distribution width values were decreased (p < 0.05), total platelet count, red cell distribution width (RDW) and systemic immune inflammation index values were increased (p < 0.01) in MO group. Both hepatokines were increased in the same group, however increases were not statistically significant. In this group, also a strong correlation was calculated between FGF-21 and RDW when controlled by age, hematocrit, iron and ferritin (r = 0.425; p < 0.01). In conclusion, the association between RDW, a hematologic inflammatory marker, and FGF-21, an inflammation-related hepatokine, found in MO group is an important finding discriminating between OB and MO children. This association is even more powerful when controlled by age and iron-related parameters.

The Evaluation of Complete Blood Cell Count-Based Inflammatory Markers in Pediatric Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Obesity is defined as a severe chronic disease characterized by a low-grade inflammatory state. Therefore, inflammatory markers gained utmost importance during the evaluation of obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS), a disease characterized by central obesity, elevated blood pressure, increased fasting blood glucose and elevated triglycerides or reduced high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) values. Some inflammatory markers based upon complete blood cell count (CBC) are available. In this study, it was questioned which inflammatory marker was the best to evaluate the differences between various obesity groups. 514 pediatric individuals were recruited. 132 children with MetS, 155 morbid obese (MO), 90 obese (OB), 38 overweight (OW) and 99 children with normal BMI (N-BMI) were included into the scope of this study. Obesity groups were constituted using age- and sex-dependent body mass index (BMI) percentiles tabulated by World Health Organization. MetS components were determined to be able to specify children with MetS. CBC were determined using automated hematology analyzer. HDL-C analysis was performed. Using CBC parameters and HDL-C values, ratio markers of inflammation, which cover neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR), derived neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (dNLR), platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio (LMR), monocyte-to-HDL-C ratio (MHR) were calculated. Statistical analyses were performed. The statistical significance degree was considered as p < 0.05. There was no statistically significant difference among the groups in terms of platelet count, neutrophil count, lymphocyte count, monocyte count, and NLR. PLR differed significantly between OW and N-BMI as well as MetS. Monocyte-to HDL-C value exhibited statistical significance between MetS and N-BMI, OB, and MO groups. HDL-C value differed between MetS and N-BMI, OW, OB, MO groups. MHR was the ratio, which exhibits the best performance among the other CBC-based inflammatory markers. On the other hand, when MHR was compared to HDL-C only, it was suggested that HDL-C has given much more valuable information. Therefore, this parameter still keeps its value from the diagnostic point of view. Our results suggest that MHR can be an inflammatory marker during the evaluation of pediatric MetS, but the predictive value of this parameter was not superior to HDL-C during the evaluation of obesity.

Importance of Macromineral Ratios and Products in Association with Vitamin D in Pediatric Obesity Including Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolisms of macrominerals, those of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium, are closely associated with the metabolism of vitamin D. Particularly magnesium, the second most abundant intracellular cation, is related to biochemical and metabolic processes in the body, such as those of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. The status of each mineral was investigated in obesity to some extent. Their products and ratios may possibly give much more detailed information about the matter. The aim of this study is to investigate possible relations between each macromineral and some obesity-related parameters. This study was performed on 235 children, whose ages were between 06-18 years. Aside from anthropometric measurements, hematological analyses were performed. TANITA body composition monitor using bioelectrical impedance analysis technology was used to establish some obesity-related parameters including basal metabolic rate (BMR), total fat, mineral and muscle masses. World Health Organization body mass index (BMI) percentiles for age and sex were used to constitute the groups. The values above 99th percentile were defined as morbid obesity. Those between 95th and 99th percentiles were included into the obese group. The overweight group comprised of children whose percentiles were between 95 and 85. Children between the 85th and 15th percentiles were defined as normal. Metabolic syndrome (MetS) components (waist circumference, fasting blood glucose, triacylglycerol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, systolic pressure, diastolic pressure) were determined. High performance liquid chromatography was used to determine Vitamin D status by measuring 25-hydroxy cholecalciferol (25-hydroxy vitamin D3, 25(OH)D). Vitamin D values above 30.0 ng/ml were accepted as sufficient. SPSS statistical package program was used for the evaluation of data. The statistical significance degree was accepted as p < 0.05. The important points were the correlations found between vitamin D and magnesium as well as phosphorus (p < 0.05) that existed in the group with normal BMI values. These correlations were lost in the other groups. The ratio of phosphorus to magnesium was even much more highly correlated with vitamin D (p < 0.001). The negative correlation between magnesium and total fat mass (p < 0.01) was confined to the MetS group showing the inverse relationship between magnesium levels and obesity degree. In this group, calcium*magnesium product exhibited the highest correlation with total fat mass (p < 0.001) among all groups. Only in the MetS group was a negative correlation found between BMR and calcium*magnesium product (p < 0.05). In conclusion, magnesium is located at the center of attraction concerning its relationships with vitamin D, fat mass and MetS. The ratios and products derived from macrominerals including magnesium have pointed out stronger associations other than each element alone. Final considerations have shown that unique correlations of magnesium as well as calcium*magnesium product with total fat mass have drawn attention particularly in the MetS group, possibly due to the derangements in some basic elements of carbohydrate as well as lipid metabolism.

Understanding the Nature of Blood Pressure as Metabolic Syndrome Component in Children

Pediatric overweight and obesity need attention because they may cause morbid obesity, which may develop metabolic syndrome (MetS). Criteria used for the definition of adult MetS cannot be applied for pediatric MetS. Dynamic physiological changes that occur during childhood and adolescence require the evaluation of each parameter based upon age intervals. The aim of this study is to investigate the distribution of blood pressure (BP) values within diverse pediatric age intervals and the possible use and clinical utility of a recently introduced Diagnostic Obesity Notation Model Assessment Tension (DONMA tense) Index derived from systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP) [SBP+DBP/200]. Such a formula may enable a more integrative picture for the assessment of pediatric obesity and MetS due to the use of both SBP and DBP. 554 children, whose ages were between 6-16 years participated in the study; the study population was divided into two groups based upon their ages. The first group comprises 280 cases aged 6-10 years (72-120 months), while those aged 10-16 years (121-192 months) constituted the second group. The values of SBP, DBP and the formula (SBP+DBP/200) covering both were evaluated. Each group was divided into seven subgroups with varying degrees of obesity and MetS criteria. Two clinical definitions of MetS have been described. These groups were MetS3 (children with three major components), and MetS2 (children with two major components). The other groups were morbid obese (MO), obese (OB), overweight (OW), normal (N) and underweight (UW). The children were included into the groups according to the age- and sex-based body mass index (BMI) percentile values tabulated by WHO. Data were evaluated by SPSS version 16 with p < 0.05 as the statistical significance degree. Tension index was evaluated in the groups above and below 10 years of age. This index differed significantly between N and MetS as well as OW and MetS groups (p = 0.001) above 120 months. However, below 120 months, significant differences existed between MetS3 and MetS2 (p = 0.003) as well as MetS3 and MO (p = 0.001). In comparison with the SBP and DBP values, tension index values have enabled more clear-cut separation between the groups. It has been detected that the tension index was capable of discriminating MetS3 from MetS2 in the group, which was composed of children aged 6-10 years. This was not possible in the older group of children. This index was more informative for the first group. This study also confirmed that 130 mm Hg and 85 mm Hg cut-off points for SBP and DBP, respectively, are too high for serving as MetS criteria in children because the mean value for tension index was calculated as 1.00 among MetS children. This finding has shown that much lower cut-off points must be set for SBP and DBP for the diagnosis of pediatric MetS, especially for children under-10 years of age. This index may be recommended to discriminate MO, MetS2 and MetS3 among the 6-10 years of age group, whose MetS diagnosis is problematic.

Evaluation of Systemic Immune-Inflammation Index in Obese Children

A growing list of cancers might be influenced by obesity. Obesity is associated with an increased risk for the occurrence and development of some cancers. Inflammation can lead to cancer. It is one of the characteristic features of cancer and plays a critical role in cancer development. C-reactive protein (CRP) is under evaluation related to the new and simple prognostic factors in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer. Obesity can predict and promote systemic inflammation in healthy adults. BMI is correlated with hs-CRP. In this study, SII index and CRP values were evaluated in children with normal BMI and those within the range of different obesity grades to detect the tendency towards cancer in pediatric obesity. A total of one hundred and ninety-four children; thirty-five children with normal BMI, twenty overweight (OW), forty-seven obese (OB) and ninety-two morbid obese (MO) participated in the study. Age- and sex-matched groups were constituted using BMI-for age percentiles. Informed consent was obtained. Ethical Committee approval was taken. Weight, height, waist circumference (C), hip C, head C and neck C of the children were measured. The complete blood count test was performed. C-reactive protein analysis was performed. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS. The degree for statistical significance was p≤0.05. SII index values were progressively increasing starting from normal weight (NW) to MO children. There is a statistically significant difference between NW and OB as well as MO children. No significant difference was observed between NW and OW children, however, a correlation was observed between NW and OW children. MO constitutes the only group, which exhibited a statistically significant correlation between SII index and CRP. Obesity-related bladder, kidney, cervical, liver, colorectal, endometrial cancers are still being investigated. Obesity, characterized as a chronic low-grade inflammation, is a crucial risk factor for colon cancer. Elevated childhood BMI values may be indicative of processes leading to cancer, initiated early in life. Prevention of childhood adiposity may decrease the cancer incidence in adults. To authors’ best knowledge, this study is the first to introduce SII index values during obesity of varying degrees of severity. It is suggested that this index seems to affect all stages of obesity with an increasing tendency and may point out the concomitant status of obesity and cancer starting from very early periods of life.

The Valuable Triad of Adipokine Indices to Differentiate Pediatric Obesity from Metabolic Syndrome: Chemerin, Progranulin, Vaspin

Obesity is associated with cardiovascular disease risk factors and metabolic syndrome (MetS). In this study, associations between adipokines and adipokine as well as obesity indices were evaluated. Plasma adipokine levels may exhibit variations according to body adipose tissue mass. Besides, upon consideration of obesity as an inflammatory disease, adipokines may play some roles in this process. The ratios of proinflammatory adipokines to adiponectin may act as highly sensitive indicators of body adipokine status. The aim of the study is to present some adipokine indices, which are thought to be helpful for the evaluation of childhood obesity and also to determine the best discriminators in the diagnosis of MetS. 80 prepubertal children (aged between 6-9.5 years) included in the study were divided into three groups; 30 children with normal weight (NW), 25 morbid obese (MO) children and 25 MO children with MetS. Physical examinations were performed. Written informed consent forms were obtained from the parents. The study protocol was approved by Ethics Committee of Namik Kemal University Medical Faculty. Anthropometric measurements, such as weight, height, waist circumference (C), hip C, head C, neck C were recorded. Values for body mass index (BMI), diagnostic obesity notation model assessment Index-II (D2 index) as well as waist-to-hip, head-to-neck ratios were calculated. Adiponectin, resistin, leptin, chemerin, vaspin, progranulin assays were performed by ELISA. Adipokine-to-adiponectin ratios were obtained. SPSS Version 20 was used for the evaluation of data. p values ≤ 0.05 were accepted as statistically significant. Values of BMI and D2 index, waist-to-hip, head-to-neck ratios did not differ between MO and MetS groups (p ≥ 0.05). Except progranulin (p ≤ 0.01), similar patterns were observed for plasma levels of each adipokine. There was not any difference in vaspin as well as resistin levels between NW and MO groups. Significantly increased leptin-to-adiponectin, chemerin-to-adiponectin and vaspin-to-adiponectin values were noted in MO in comparison with those of NW. The most valuable adipokine index was progranulin-to-adiponectin (p ≤ 0.01). This index was strongly correlated with vaspin-to-adiponectin ratio in all groups (p ≤ 0.05). There was no correlation between vaspin-to-adiponectin and chemerin-to--adiponectin in NW group. However, a correlation existed in MO group (r = 0.486; p ≤ 0.05). Much stronger correlation (r = 0.609; p ≤ 0.01) was observed in MetS group between these two adipokine indices. No correlations were detected between vaspin and progranulin as well as vaspin and chemerin levels. Correlation analyses showed a unique profile confined to MetS children. Adiponectin was found to be correlated with waist-to-hip (r = -0.435; p ≤ 0.05) as well as head-to-neck (r = 0.541; p ≤ 0.05) ratios only in MetS children. In this study, it has been investigated if adipokine indices have priority over adipokine levels. In conclusion, vaspin-to-adiponectin, progranulin-to-adiponectin, chemerin-to-adiponectin along with waist-to-hip and head-to-neck ratios were the optimal combinations. Adiponectin, waist-to-hip, head-to-neck, vaspin-to-adiponectin, chemerin-to-adiponectin ratios had appropriate discriminatory capability for MetS children.

T Cell Immunity Profile in Pediatric Obesity and Asthma

The mechanisms underlying the association between obesity and asthma may be related to a decreased immunological tolerance induced by a defective function of regulatory T cells (Tregs). The aim of this study is to establish the potential link between these diseases and CD4+, CD25+ FoxP3+ Tregs as well as T helper cells (Ths) in children. This is a prospective case control study. Obese (n:40), asthmatic (n:40), asthmatic obese (n:40) and healthy children (n:40), who don't have any acute or chronic diseases, were included in this study. Obese children were evaluated according to WHO criteria. Asthmatic patients were chosen based on GINA criteria. Parents were asked to fill up the questionnaire. Informed consent forms were taken. Blood samples were marked with CD4+, CD25+ and FoxP3+ in order to determine Tregs and Ths by flow cytometric method. Statistical analyses were performed. p≤0.05 was chosen as meaningful threshold. Tregs exhibiting anti-inflammatory nature were significantly lower in obese (0,16%; p≤0,001), asthmatic (0,25%; p≤0,01) and asthmatic obese (0,29%; p≤0,05) groups than the control group (0,38%). Ths were counted higher in asthma group than the control (p≤0,01) and obese (p≤0,001) groups. T cell immunity plays important roles in obesity and asthma pathogeneses. Decreased numbers of Tregs found in obese, asthmatic and asthmatic obese children may help to elucidate some questions in pathophysiology of these diseases. For HOMA-IR levels, any significant difference was not noted between control and obese groups, but statistically higher values were found for obese asthmatics. The values obtained in all groups were found to be below the critical cut off points. This finding has made the statistically significant difference observed between Tregs of obese, asthmatic, obese asthmatic and control groups much more valuable. These findings will be useful in diagnosis and treatment of these disorders and future studies are needed. The production and propagation of Tregs may be promising in alternative asthma and obesity treatments.