Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toyama, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.
Because the prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically in recent years, one of the key targets of public health is obesity and its associated pathological conditions. Obesity occurs as a result of white adipose tissue enlargement, caused by adipocyte hyperplasia and/or hypertrophy. Recently, endocrine aspects of adipose tissue have become an active research area and these adipose tissue-derived factors are referred to as adipokines. These adipokines interact with a range of processes in many different organ systems and influence a various systemic phenomena. Therefore, dysregulated production of adipokines has been found to participate in the development of metabolic and vascular diseases related to obesity. The obese state is also known to be associated with increased local and systemic inflammation. Adipokines influence not only systemic insulin resistance and have pathophysiological roles in the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease, but also contribute toward an increase in local and systemic inflammation. Thus, circulating levels of adipokines can be used as high-throughput biomarkers to assess the obesity-related health problems, including low grade inflammation. This review focuses on the usefulness of measuring circulating adipokine levels for the assessment of obesity-related health problems.
Keywords: Adipokine, biomarker, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity.