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Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Obese Mexican American children have elevated MCP-1, TNF-alpha, monocyte concentration, and dyslipidemia

Author
item Breslin, Whitney - University Of Houston
item Johnston, Craig - Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Strohacker, Kelley - University Of Houston
item Carpenter, Katie - University Of Houston
item Davidson, Tiffany - University Of Houston
item Moreno, Jennette - Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Foreyt, John - Children's Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item Mcfarlin, Brian - University Of Houston

Submitted to: Pediatrics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2012
Publication Date: 4/2/2012
Citation: Breslin, W.L., Johnston, C.A., Strohacker, K., Carpenter, K.C., Davidson, T.R., Moreno, J.P., Foreyt, J.P., McFarlin, B.K. 2012. Obese Mexican American children have elevated MCP-1, TNF-alpha, monocyte concentration, and dyslipidemia. Pediatrics. 129(5):e1180-e1186.

Interpretive Summary: Being obese as a child puts one at increased risk for the development of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Obesity prevalence rates are particularly high among Mexican American children putting them at even greater risk for developing chronic health problems. This study sought to better understand this problem at a physiological level. Physiologically, obesity is known to cause systemic inflammation in adults and similar findings have been seen in child populations. Systemic inflammation is a known risk factor for the development of chronic disease. Blood monocyte concentrations have been shown to be related to increase body fat and are thought to be related to inflammation. This study looked at differences in blood monocytes levels in Mexican American children that were healthy weight, overweight, and obese in order to provide insight into their risk for disease development. Blood samples were analyzed for monocyte concentration, cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), triglycerides, and glucose. Total monocyte concentration and inflammatory indicators were higher in obese children than healthy weight children. Also, overweight and obese children had higher triglycerides and lower HDL than healthy weight children. Childhood obesity alters monocytes, putting children at a greater risk of having obesity-related chronic diseases as adults. This issue is further complicated in that ethnic minorities have higher rates of obesity. This is especially true for Mexican American children who are one of the heaviest groups in the U.S. Learning more about the effects childhood obesity has on the immune system can help clinicians better understand obesity-related disease risk.

Technical Abstract: Obesity is an independent risk factor for chronic disease. The prevalence of obesity is especially high among Mexican American children. Peripheral blood monocytes are altered with obesity contributing to elevated systemic inflammation and increased risk of chronic disease. In addition, obesity alters the circulating levels of cytokines/chemokines that influence monocyte behavior. The study objective was to investigate alterations in blood monocytes and plasma cytokines/chemokine levels among healthy weight (standardized BMI [zBMI] equal to or less than 85th percentile; n = 66), overweight (zBMI 85th–95th percentile; n = 23), and obese (zBMI equal to or grear than 95th percentile; n = 39) Mexican American children. Blood samples were analyzed for total and subset monocyte concentration via flow cytometry. Serum monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), fractalkine, interleukin-8, and tumor necrosis factor a (TNF-a) were measured by using a Milliplex MagPix assay. Serum cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins, triglycerides, and glucose were measured by using an enzymatic assay. Total monocyte concentration (P = .012), classic monocyte concentration (P = .045), MCP-1 (P = .015), and TNF-a (P = .002) were significantly greater in obese children, compared with healthy weight children. Also, overweight and obese children had elevated triglycerides (P = .001) and reduced high-density lipoproteins (P = .033), compared with healthy weight children. Childhood obesity alters monocytes and circulating chemokines, putting children at a greater risk of developing obesity-related chronic diseases in adulthood. Further characterization of early immune alterations in childhood obesity may provide additional clinical insight into the assessment of obesity-related disease risk.