PloS one

Associations of Body Composition Measurements with Serum Lipid, Glucose and Insulin Profile: A Chinese Twin Study.

PMID 26556598


To quantitate and compare the associations of various body composition measurements with serum metabolites and to what degree genetic or environmental factors affect obesity-metabolite relation. Body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), lean body mass (LBM), percent body fat (PBF), fasting serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC), glucose, insulin and lifestyle factors were assessed in 903 twins from Chinese National Twin Registry (CNTR). Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was calculated from fasting serum glucose and insulin. Linear regression models and bivariate structural equation models were used to examine the relation of various body composition measurements with serum metabolite levels and genetic/environmental influences on these associations, respectively. At individual level, adiposity measurements (BMI, WC and PBF) showed significant associations with serum metabolite concentrations in both sexes and the associations still existed in male twins when using within-MZ twin pair comparison analyses. Associations of BMI with TG, insulin and HOMA-IR were significantly stronger in male twins compared to female twins (BMI-by-sex interaction p = 0.043, 0.020 and 0.019, respectively). Comparison of various adiposity measurements with levels of serum metabolites revealed that WC explained the largest fraction of variance in serum LDL-C, TG, TC and glucose concentrations while BMI performed best in explaining variance in serum HDL-C, insulin and HOMA-IR levels. Of these phenotypic correlations, 64-81% were attributed to genetic factors, whereas 19-36% were attributed to unique environmental factors. We observed different associations between adiposity and serum metabolite profile and demonstrated that WC and BMI explained the largest fraction of variance in serum lipid profile and insulin resistance, respectively. To a large degree, shared genetic factors contributed to these associations with the remaining explained by twin-specific environmental factors.