Serum interferon gamma concentration is associated with bone mineral density in overweight boys
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- Utsal, L., Tillmann, V., Zilmer, M. et al. J Endocrinol Invest (2014) 37: 175. doi:10.1007/s40618-013-0029-6
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Childhood obesity has recently been linked to low-grade inflammation. Overweight children have slightly different processes of bone accumulation than normal weight children. The possible links between inflammation and bone accumulation have not previously been assessed in overweight children.
An exploratory study to assess whether common inflammatory markers are associated with the development of obesity and bone accumulation in childhood.
Thirteen different inflammatory markers in serum were measured in 38 boys with BMI >85th centile (overweight) and 38 boys with normal BMI (normal weight), aged 10–11 years. Total body (TB) and lumbar spine (LS) bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC) were measured by DXA. TB BMC for height, TB and LS bone mineral apparent density (BMAD) were calculated.
Overweight boys had higher mean TB and LS BMD, TB BMC and TB BMC for height, but lower mean TB BMAD (all p < 0.05) than normal weight boys. Serum interferon gamma (IFNγ) concentration was significantly (p < 0.05) correlated with TB BMD (r = 0.36), TB BMC (r = 0.38) and TB BMC for height (r = 0.53) in the broader overweight group (n = 38). In obese boys (BMI > 95 centile, n = 36) IFNγ was correlated with LS BMD (r = 0.38).
The positive correlation between serum INFγ concentration and BMD suggests that the inflammatory process, already involved in the early stage of obesity, may also affect bone accumulation. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of INFγ as a possible link between adipose tissue and bone health.