Inflammation present in psoriasis may be associated with adipose tissue dysfunction, study findings suggest.

“Plasma levels of adiponectin were lower in psoriasis, and this relationship persisted after adjusting for cardiometabolic risk factors that are known to decrease adiponectin levels,” Rung-Chi Li, DO, from the Cardiovascular Institute and Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biotstatistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and colleagues reported in Clinical and Experimental Dermatology.

Previous studies have shown that leptin and adiponectin, the key inflammatory mediators secreted by adipose tissue, have multiple downstream effects. The researchers recruited for a case-control study a consecutive sample of 122 patients with psoriasis of varying severity, and a random sample of 134 patients without psoriasis.

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Traditional cardiovascular risk factors, waist circumference, insulin resistance, and total plasma adiponectin and leptin were measured. Total plasma adiponectin and leptin levels were compared in unadjusted and adjusted analyses by psoriasis status.

Patients with psoriasis in the study had mostly mild disease and were mainly on topical therapies, but these patients had a more unfavorable cardiometabolic profile compared with those without psoriasis. In addition, plasma adiponectin levels were significantly lower in participants with psoriasis than those without {7.13 mcg/mL [interquartile range 4.9–11.3) versus 14.5 mcg/mL (IQR 8.4–24.1); P<0.001]}.

Although it did not reach statistical significance, plasma leptin (ng/mL) levels were higher among patients with psoriasis [11.3 (IQR 6.4–21.8) versus 9.8 (IQR 4.9–20.5); P=0.07]. In multivariable modeling, plasma adiponectin levels remained adversely associated with psoriasis after adjusting for waist size (% difference = −41.2%, P<0.001); insulin resistance (% difference = −39.5%, P<0.001); and both waist size and insulin resistance (% difference = −38.5%, P<0.001).

“These findings suggest that inflammation present in psoriasis may be associated with adipose tissue dysfunction,” the researchers concluded.

Li and colleagues said that larger prospective studies to account for psoriasis treatment effects and severity should include biopsy studies of adipose tissue.


  1. Li RC. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2013;39:19-14; doi: 10.1111/ced.12250.

Disclosure: This study was partially supported by a grant from the NIH. The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.