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Prader-willi syndrome is associated with activation of the innate immune system independently of central adiposity and insulin resistance


Background: Subjects with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) have a reduced life expectancy due to cardiovascular disease. Increased systemic low-grade inflammation is postulated as a contributor, despite reported lower visceral fat mass and increased insulin sensitivity. Objectives: Our aim was to compare inflammatory markers and arterial stiffness in PWS and adiposity-matched obese control subjects. Design: We conducted a cross-sectional cohort study comparing 12 PWS subjects, 12 obese subjects matched for percentage body fat and central abdominal fat mass, and 10 healthy normal-weight subjects. Main Outcome Measures: Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to assess body composition, flow cytometry to quantify activation markers on immune cells, and ELISA for measurement of C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and IL-6. Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostasis model assessment and arterial stiffness by applanation tonometry. Results: PWS and obese subjects had similarly increased homeostasis model assessment and arterial stiffness. Nevertheless, PWS subjects showed significantly higher IL-6 (4.9 +/- 1.0 vs. 2.5 +/- 0.4 pg/ml; P = 0.02) and nonsignificantly higher C-reactive protein (10.5 +/- 3.2 vs. 4.0 +/- 1.0 ng/ml; P = 0.08). Neutrophil activation markers CD66b and CD11b were higher in PWS compared to obese subjects (P < 0.01), reflecting an activated innate immune system. These markers were positively related to central adiposity in lean and obese subjects (r = 0.49; P < 0.05), but not in PWS subjects. Conclusions: PWS subjects compared to adiposity-matched obese subjects demonstrate similar insulin resistance but increased low-grade inflammation. The dissociation of inflammation and central adiposity suggests that activation of innate immunity may be either a specific genetic feature of PWS or linked to the commonly associated obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and might offer a treatment target to reduce cardiovascular disease.

Type Journal
ISBN 1945-7197 (Electronic) 0021-972X (Linking)
Authors Viardot, A.; Sze, L.; Purtell, L.; Sainsbury, A.; Loughnan, G.; Smith, E.; Herzog, H.; Steinbeck, K.; Campbell, L. V.;
Responsible Garvan Author A/Prof Alex Viardot
Published Date 2010-01-01
Published Volume 95
Published Issue 7
Published Pages 3392-9
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version