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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Nutrition

Plasma Protein Profiling Reveals Protein Clusters Related to BMI and Insulin Levels in Middle-Aged Overweight Subjects
Published: Thursday, December 23, 2010
Author: Susan J. van Dijk et al.

by Susan J. van Dijk, Edith J. M. Feskens, A. Geert Heidema, Marieke B. Bos, Ondine van de Rest, Johanna M. Geleijnse, Lisette C. P. G. M. de Groot, Michael Müller, Lydia A. Afman

Background

Biomarkers that allow detection of the onset of disease are of high interest since early detection would allow intervening with lifestyle and nutritional changes before the disease is manifested and pharmacological therapy is required. Our study aimed to improve the phenotypic characterization of overweight but apparently healthy subjects and to identify new candidate profiles for early biomarkers of obesity-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In a population of 56 healthy, middle-aged overweight subjects Body Mass Index (BMI), fasting concentration of 124 plasma proteins and insulin were determined. The plasma proteins are implicated in chronic diseases, inflammation, endothelial function and metabolic signaling. Random Forest was applied to select proteins associated with BMI and plasma insulin. Subsequently, the selected proteins were analyzed by clustering methods to identify protein clusters associated with BMI and plasma insulin. Similar analyses were performed for a second population of 20 healthy, overweight older subjects to verify associations found in population I. In both populations similar clusters of proteins associated with BMI or insulin were identified. Leptin and a number of pro-inflammatory proteins, previously identified as possible biomarkers for obesity-related disease, e.g. Complement 3, C Reactive Protein, Serum Amyloid P, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor clustered together and were positively associated with BMI and insulin. IL-3 and IL-13 clustered together with Apolipoprotein A1 and were inversely associated with BMI and might be potential new biomarkers.

Conclusion/ Significance

We identified clusters of plasma proteins associated with BMI and insulin in healthy populations. These clusters included previously reported biomarkers for obesity-related disease and potential new biomarkers such as IL-3 and IL-13. These plasma protein clusters could have potential applications for improved phenotypic characterization of volunteers in nutritional intervention studies or as biomarkers in the early detection of obesity-linked disease development and progression.

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