King's College London

Research portal

The link between obesity and inflammatory markers in the development of type 2 diabetes in men of black African and white European ethnicity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Olah Hakim, Oluwatoyosi Bello, Meera Ladwa, Janet L. Peacock, A. Margot Umpleby, Geoffrey Charles-Edwards, Stephanie A. Amiel, Louise M. Goff

Original languageEnglish
Article number3796
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
Issue number12
PublishedDec 2020

King's Authors


In this study, we aimed to assess ethnic differences in visceral (VAT), deep subcutaneous (dSAT), and superficial subcutaneous (sSAT) adipose tissue and their relationships with inflammatory markers between white European (WE) and black West African (BWA) men with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Forty-two WE (23 NGT/19 T2D) and 43 BWA (23 NGT/20 T2D) men underwent assessment of plasma inflammatory markers using immunoassays alongside Dixon magnetic resonance imaging to quantify L4-5 VAT, dSAT and sSAT. Despite no ethnic differences in sSAT and dSAT, BWA men exhibited lower VAT (p = 0.002) and dSAT:sSAT (p = 0.047) than WE men. Adiponectin was inversely associated with sSAT in WE (p = 0.041) but positively associated in BWA (p = 0.031) men with T2D. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) was associated with VAT in WE but not in BWA men with NGT (WE: p = 0.009, BWA: p = 0.137) and T2D (WE: p = 0.070, BWA: p = 0.175). IL-6 was associated with dSAT in only WE men with NGT (WE: p = 0.030, BWA: p = 0.833). The only significant ethnicity interaction present was for the relationship between adiponectin and sSAT (Pinteraction = 0.003). The favourable adipose tissue distribution and the weaker relationships between adiposity and inflammation in BWA men suggest that adipose tissue inflammation may play a lesser role in T2D in BWA than WE men.

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454