The Link between Obesity and Inflammatory Markers in the Development of Type 2 Diabetes in Men of Black African and White European Ethnicity

Olah Hakim, Oluwatoyosi Bello, Meera Ladwa, Janet L Peacock, A Margot Umpleby, Geoffrey Charles-Edwards, Stephanie A Amiel, Louise M Goff

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In this study, we aimed to assess ethnic differences in visceral (VAT), deep subcutaneous (dSAT), and superficial subcutaneous (sSAT) adipose tissue and their relationships with inflammatory markers between white European (WE) and black West African (BWA) men with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Forty-two WE (23 NGT/19 T2D) and 43 BWA (23 NGT/20 T2D) men underwent assessment of plasma inflammatory markers using immunoassays alongside Dixon magnetic resonance imaging to quantify L4-5 VAT, dSAT and sSAT. Despite no ethnic differences in sSAT and dSAT, BWA men exhibited lower VAT (p = 0.002) and dSAT:sSAT (p = 0.047) than WE men. Adiponectin was inversely associated with sSAT in WE (p = 0.041) but positively associated in BWA (p = 0.031) men with T2D. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) was associated with VAT in WE but not in BWA men with NGT (WE: p = 0.009, BWA: p = 0.137) and T2D (WE: p = 0.070, BWA: p = 0.175). IL-6 was associated with dSAT in only WE men with NGT (WE: p = 0.030, BWA: p = 0.833). The only significant ethnicity interaction present was for the relationship between adiponectin and sSAT (Pinteraction = 0.003). The favourable adipose tissue distribution and the weaker relationships between adiposity and inflammation in BWA men suggest that adipose tissue inflammation may play a lesser role in T2D in BWA than WE men.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2020


  • Adiponectin/blood
  • Adipose Tissue/diagnostic imaging
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers/analysis
  • Body Fat Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/ethnology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators/blood
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity/blood
  • Young Adult

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