Hyperhomocysteinemia correlates with insulin resistance and low-grade systemic inflammation in obese prepubertal children
Obesity is an independent risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease frequently associated with hypertension, dyslipemia, diabetes, and insulin resistance. Higher homocysteine (Hcy) levels are observed in the hyperinsulinemic obese adults and suggest that Hcy could play a role in the higher risk of cardiovascular disease in obesity. We analyzed total Hcy levels in obese prepubertal children and their possible association with both metabolic syndrome and various inflammatory biomarkers and leptin. We studied 43 obese children (aged 6-9 years) and an equal number of nonobese children, paired by age and sex. The obese subjects presented significantly elevated values for insulin (P = .003), C-reactive protein (P = .033), and leptin (P < .001). No significant differences were found in Hcy levels between the obese and nonobese children. However, Hcy concentration was significantly higher in the hyperinsulinemic obese children than in the normoinsulinemic group (P = .002). Using multivariant regression analysis, in the obese group, corrected for age and sex, the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (P partial = .001) and leptin (P partial = .02) are independent predictive factors for Hcy. In the control group, corrected for age and sex, the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (P partial = .005) and leptin (P partial = .031) also are independent predictive factor for Hcy. Increased plasma Hcy, particularly in hyperinsulinemic obese children, may be causally involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and/or cardiovascular disease, both of which are common in obesity.