Context: It is unclear to what extent the plasma proteome of abdominal fat distribution differs from that of body mass index, and whether the differences have clinical implications. Objective: To evaluate the difference between the plasma proteomic profiles of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), and then examine the identified BMI- or WHR-specific proteins in relation to incidence of diabetes. Methods: Data were obtained from the Malmö Diet and Cancer-Cardiovascular Cohort study in the general community. Participants (n = 4203) with no previous diabetes (aged 57.2 ± 6.0 years, 37.8% men) were included. Plasma proteins (n = 136) were measured by the Proseek proximity extension method. BMI- and WHR-specific proteins were identified at baseline using a 2-step iterative resampling approach to optimize internal replicability followed by β coefficient comparisons. The identified proteins were considered internally replicated and were then studied in relation to incident diabetes by Cox proportional hazards regression analysis. The main outcome measure was incident diabetes over a mean follow-up of 20.3 ± 5.9 years. Results: After excluding 21 overlapping proteins and proteins that did not show significantly different associations with BMI vs WHR, 10 internally replicated proteins were found to be specific to BMI, and 22 were found to be specific to WHR (false discovery rate-adjusted P < .05). Of the WHR-specific proteins, 18 remained associated with diabetes risk after multivariate adjustments, whereas none of the BMI-specific proteins showed associations with diabetes risk. Conclusion: Abdominal fat distribution was associated with some unique characteristics of the plasma proteome that potentially could be related to its additional risk of diabetes beyond general obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E2982-E2990
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes

Free keywords

  • body mass index
  • cohort
  • diabetes
  • proteomics
  • waist-to-hip ratio


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