Obesity is characterized by a low grade chronic inflammation state. Indeed circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-6, are elevated in obese subjects, while anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, appear to be reduced. Cytokines profile improves after weight loss, but how visceral or subcutaneous fat loss respectively affect pro- or anti-inflammatory cytokines plasma levels has not been precisely assessed. Therefore in the present study we correlated changes in circulating cytokine profile with quantitative changes in visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue depots measured by an ad hoc Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) protocol before and after weight loss.
Materials and Methods
In 14 obese subjects, MRI determination of visceral and subcutaneous fat and plasma glucose, insulin, TNF-α IL-6, and IL-10 measurements were performed before and after a caloric restriction induced weight loss of at least 5% of the original body weight.
Weight loss improved insulin sensitivity (QUICKI Index: 0.35±0.03 vs 0.37±0.04; P<0.05), increased IL-10 (3.4±1.9 vs 4.6±1.0 pg/mL; P<0.03), and reduced TNF-α and IL-6 plasma levels (2.5±1.3 vs 1.6±1.5 pg/mL, P<0.0015, 2.3±0.4 vs 1.6±0.6 pg/mL, P<0.02 respectively). A significant correlation was observed between the amount of visceral fat loss and the percentage reduction in both TNF-α (r = 0.56, p<0.05) and IL-6 (r = 0.19 p<0.05) plasma levels. In a multiple regression analysis, the amount of visceral fat loss independently correlated with the increase in IL-10 plasma levels.
The reduction in visceral adipose tissue is the main driver of the improved inflammatory profile induced by weight loss.