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Angela Galler, Götz Gelbrich, Jürgen Kratzsch, Nicole Noack, Thomas Kapellen and Wieland Kiess

Objective: Adiponectin plays an important role in pathophysiology of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The aim of this study was to determine adiponectin concentrations in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes in a longitudinal manner and to study the impact of age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and metabolic control.

Research design and methods: In this study, 88 children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes were followed longitudinally. At baseline and during follow-up, serum levels of adiponectin were measured by enzyme-linked immunoassay and correlated with clinical data, HbA1c and lipids. Healthy children (n = 259) were chosen as a control group.

Results: Serum adiponectin levels were significantly higher in children with type 1 diabetes compared with healthy children (13.1 vs 9.1 μg/ml at baseline, P < 0.001). Adiponectin concentrations inversely correlated with BMI s.d.s (P < 0.001). No significant difference of adiponectin levels regarding gender, diabetes duration or HbA1c was seen. Adiponectin concentrations decreased in males with type 1 diabetes during puberty (P = 0.03) while there was no significant change in females. In a subgroup of patients with new onset type 1 diabetes, adiponectin concentrations were not different from adiponectin levels in control subjects but increased during follow-up (P = 0.007). Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that most important predictors of adiponectin levels in type 1 diabetes at the end of the study were adiponectin concentration at baseline (β = 0.574, P < 0.001) and BMI s.d.s (β = −0.302, P = 0.001, r 2 = 0.56).

Conclusions: Children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes have BMI-dependent elevated serum concentrations of adiponectin compared with healthy children.