Inflammation associated with obesity: Relationship with blood and bone marrow endothelial cells

Timothy R. McGuire, Susan K. Brusnahan, Laura D. Bilek, John D. Jackson, M. Anne Kessinger, Anne M. Berger, Kevin L. Garvin, Barbara J. O'Kane, Sonal R. Tuljapurkar, John G. Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess the inflammatory nature of obesity and its effect on blood and bone marrow endothelial cell populations. Obese patients (BMI 30) had significantly higher concentrations of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (P = 0.03) and lower concentrations of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) (P = 0.05). This cytokine profile is consistent with obesity being an inflammatory condition and is further supported by the significant correlation between total white blood cell count and BMI (r = 0.15; P = 0.035). High BMI was associated with significantly lower numbers of early endothelial cells (CD45/CD34 ) in the bone marrow (r = 0.20; P = 0.0068). There was also a significant inverse correlation between BMI and a more mature endothelial cell phenotype (CD45/31 ) in the blood (r = 0.17; P = 0.02). In addition, there was a significant correlation between BMI-and endothelial-related cells of hematopoietic origin (CD133/VEGFR-2 ) in the bone marrow (r = 0.26; P = 0.0007). Patients with higher plasma IL-10 and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) concentrations had higher numbers of endothelial phenotypes in the bone marrow suggesting a protective effect of these anti-inflammatory cytokines. In conclusion, this work confirms the inflammatory nature of obesity and is the first to report that obesity is associated with reduced endothelial cell numbers in the bone marrow of humans. These effects of obesity may be a potential mechanism for impaired tissue repair in obese patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2130-2136
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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