Introduction: Obesity has been associated with a low-level activation of the acute-phase response. The aim of the present study was to compare inflammatory parameters in patients with obesity and a control group, and to evaluate the effect of weight loss on these parameters.
Methods: Sixty-seven severe or morbid obese patients (51 women, 16 men), aged 34±11 years, were compared with 67 normal-weight controls (45 women, 22 men), aged 32±10 years. After initial evaluation, the patients received treatment for 4 weeks with a very low-calorie diet (VLCD), followed by a low calorie diet (12001500 kcal/day) for 2 months. Exclusion criteria were organic, infectious or inflammatory disease, ischaemic heart disease or stroke, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension. An anthropometric and analytical evaluation was performed before and after the diet, measuring fibrinogen, CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α. Student t-test was used to compare the differences between groups. Pearson correlation coefficients were calculated to describe the association between variables.
Results: Obese patients showed higher levels of CRP, IL-6, TNF-α, leukocyte and neutrophil count than controls. After adjusting for BMI, differences in CRP remained statistically significant. In obese patients, inflammatory parameters (leukocyte count, neutrophil count, and IL-6) were significantly correlated with anthropometric parameters (weight, BMI and waist). None of these correlations was observed in the control group. Sixty-two patients completed 3 months of diet with a mean percentage weight loss of 8.6%. No change was observed in any inflammatory parameter after weight loss.
Conclusions: Obesity is associated to a chronic inflammatory state, probably due to proinflammatory cytokines secretion. Moderate weight loss does not ameliorate this proinflammatory state.