Men with high levels of adiponectin, a protein produced by fat cells, have a decreased risk for heart attack, new research indicates. Further studies are needed to determine if this also applies to women.
Men with high levels of adiponectin, a protein produced by fat cells, have a decreased risk for heart attack, new research indicates. Further studies are needed to determine if this also applies to women. Animal research and cross-sectional studies have suggested that the risk of heart attack falls as adiponectin levels rise, lead author Dr. Tobias Pischon, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, told Reuters Health. “But, ours is the first (forward-looking) study in a healthy population to look at this association.” The study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved participants in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study. All of the subjects were free from heart disease at the beginning of the study when blood samples were taken. The analysis focused on 266 men who developed heart disease during 6 years of follow-up and 532 similar men who remained disease free. Compared with men with the lowest adiponectin levels, those with the highest levels were 61 percent less likely to have a heart attack. After accounting for the subjects’ cholesterol levels, this reduction in risk fell to 44 percent. Pischon commented that “it’s definitely too early to say whether measuring adiponectin levels” will offer any added value in predicting heart attacks after considering traditional risk factors, such as high blood pressure and smoking. “Our next step is to do a similar analysis in women,” Pischon said. “The association should hold up in women, but there are some differences between the sexes–women generally have higher adiponectin levels.” (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association: Reuters Health: Anthony J. Brown, MD: MedLine Plus: April 14, 2004.)