Lower fat hormone levels turn blood infection deadly

Toronto, Oct 24 (Inditop.com) Below normal levels of a natural fat hormone may heighten death risk from sepsis — an overwhelming infection of the blood which claims thousands of lives every year — says an Indian-origin Canadian scientist.

The study by St. Michael’s Hospital researchers and the University of Toronto (U-T) focussed on adiponectin, a hormone secreted by visceral fat surrounding the abdominal organs.

“We hypothesised that low adiponectin levels might predispose such individuals to develop sepsis and sepsis-related problems,” says Subodh Verma, associate professor of surgery at the University of Toronto.

“This initial hypothesis was borne out by our latest research.”

Using an animal model designed to mimic what occurs in people with low levels of adiponectin, scientists observed that mice with low levels of the hormone were at much greater risk of dying from a blood infection. Sepsis could be prevented if the animals were given additional adiponectin.

The risk of dying from sepsis after surgery is known to be two-and-a-half to three times higher in people with “metabolic syndrome” — a combination of factors including abdominal obesity, high blood fat composition, high blood pressure, diabetes and high inflammatory and blood clot indicators.

People with these conditions tend to have lower levels of adiponectin which may prime them to greater sepsis related complications, says an U-T release.

The findings were presented this week at the 2009 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons held in Chicago.