BACKGROUND: The two inflammatory molecules, S100A8 and S100A9, form a heterodimer, calprotectin. Plasma calprotectin levels are elevated in various inflammatory disorders. We hypothesized that plasma calprotectin levels would be increased in subjects with low-grade systemic inflammation i.e. either obese subjects or subjects with type 2 diabetes. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Plasma calprotectin and skeletal muscle S100A8 mRNA levels were measured in a cohort consisting of 199 subjects divided into four groups depending on presence or absence of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and presence or absence of obesity. There was a significant interaction between obesity and T2D (p = 0.012). Plasma calprotectin was increased in obese relative to non-obese controls (p<0.0001), whereas it did not differ between obese and non-obese patients with T2D (p = 0.62). S100A8 mRNA levels in skeletal muscle were not influenced by obesity or T2D. Multivariate regression analysis (adjusting for age, sex, smoking and HOMA2-IR) showed plasma calprotectin to be strongly associated with BMI, even when further adjusted for fitness, CRP, TNF-alpha or neutrophil number. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Plasma calprotectin is a marker of obesity in individuals without type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: Body Mass Index; Cross-Sectional Studies; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Dimerization; Female; Humans; Inflammation; Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex; Male; Middle Aged; Multivariate Analysis; Muscle, Skeletal; Neutrophils; Obesity; Smoking