Objective: To examine prospectively the association of total and high molecular weight (HMW) adiponectin, and HMW/total adiponectin ratio with risk of incident coronary heart disease (CHD) in women, and to examine to what extent adjustment for potentially intermediary variables would explain this association. Methods and results: Among 30,111 women from the Nurses' Health Study, 468 women developed non-fatal myocardial infarction or fatal CHD during 14 years of follow-up. Using risk set sampling, controls were selected 2:1 matched on age, smoking, and date of blood draw. Adjusted for matching factors, parental history of myocardial infarction, hormone replacement therapy, alcohol consumption, physical activity, body mass index, hypertension, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, the relative risk in the highest versus lowest quintile was 0.50 (95%-CI 0.33-0.75; p trend = 0.001) for total adiponectin, 0.53 (95%-CI 0.35-0.80; p trend = 0.004) for HMW adiponectin, and 0.63 (95%-CI 0.43-0.93; p trend = 0.03) for HMW/total adiponectin ratio. After adjustment for diabetes, HDL-cholesterol, HbA1c, and CRP these associations were attenuated and no longer significant (RRs, 0.84; 95%-CI 0.53-1.33; p trend = 0.62; 0.95; 95%-CI 0.60-1.52; p trend = 0.98; 0.97; 95%-CI 0.64-1.47; p trend = 0.80). Conclusions: High levels of total and HMW adiponectin, and HMW/total adiponectin ratio are associated with a lower risk of CHD among women. HMW adiponectin and HMW/total adiponectin ratio are not more closely related to risk than total adiponectin. These associations are largely mediated by parameters related to glucose and lipid metabolism and inflammation, especially HDL-cholesterol levels. (copyright) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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