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Novel adipokines: methodological utility in human obesity research



Adipokines could pose a link between adiposity, systemic inflammation and metabolic disease risk. However, it is unclear whether representative biomarkers are methodologically suitable for use in human obesity research.


We assessed the intra-individual reproducibility of selected adipokines in a sample of 207, apparently healthy, participants with available biosample collections over a 4-month period. Concentrations of the following adipokines were measured at each sampling time point: fatty-acid binding protein-4 (FABP-4), lipocalin-2, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), procalcitonin, progranulin, vaspin and visfatin/Nampt. We calculated intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and examined Bland−Altman plots.


The analyses suggested an overall good to excellent biomarker reproducibility over 4 months: FABP-4: ICC=0.73 (95% confidence interval: 0.65, 0.78), lipocalin-2: 0.64 (0.55, 0.71), MCP-1: 0.85 (0.81; 0.89), procalcitonin: 0.78 (0.72, 0.83), progranulin: 0.59 (0.50, 0.68) and vaspin: 0.86 (0.82, 0.89). A good agreement of the repeated measurements was further supported by the Bland−Altman plots. No substantial differences in biomarker performance according to adiposity status could be observed. Reliability of visfatin/Nampt could not be assessed due to a high number of measurements below the lower limit of detection.


Results suggest that single measurements of the evaluated adipokines could be used in population-based studies aimed to assess links between obesity, inflammation and metabolic diseases.

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We express special thanks to Katrin Sprengel and Tanja Ahrens (Department of Clinical Nutrition, DIfE) for their valuable work on biomarker measurements. We thank the Human Study Centre, DIfE for data collection and biological sample logistics. We express special thanks to Dr Manuela Bergmann for her contribution by leading the underlying processes of data generation, as well as to Silke Navia Fruth and Herbert Piechot for their valuable assistance with biosample management. Particular thanks are given to the data managers, especially Ellen Kohlsdorf. Finally, we express special thanks to all EPIC-Potsdam participants for their invaluable contribution to the study.

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Correspondence to K Aleksandrova.

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Eichelmann, F., Rudovich, N., Pfeiffer, A. et al. Novel adipokines: methodological utility in human obesity research. Int J Obes 41, 976–981 (2017).

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