Background Adiponectin has cardioprotective properties, suggesting that lower levels seen in obesity and diabetes could heighten risk of atrial fibrillation (AF). Among older adults, however, higher adiponectin has been linked to greater incidence of adverse outcomes associated with AF, although recent reports have shown this association to be U-shaped. We postulated that higher adiponectin would be linked to increased risk for AF in older adults in a U-shaped manner.
Methods We examined the associations of total and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin with incident AF among individuals free of prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD) participating in a population-based cohort study of older adults (n=3190; age=74±5 years).
Results During median follow-up of 11.4 years, there were 886 incident AF events. Adjusted cubic splines showed a positive and linear association between adiponectin and incident AF. After adjusting for potential confounders, including amino-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide 1–76, the HR (95% CI) for AF per SD increase in total adiponectin was 1.14 (1.05 to 1.24), while that for HMW adiponectin was 1.17 (1.08 to 1.27). Additional adjustment for putative mediators, including subclinical CVD, diabetes, lipids and inflammation, did not significantly affect these estimates.
Conclusions The present findings demonstrate that higher, not lower, levels of adiponectin are independently associated with increased risk of AF in older adults despite its documented cardiometabolic benefits. Additional work is necessary to determine if adiponectin is a marker of failed counter-regulatory pathways or whether this hormone is directly harmful in the setting of or as a result of advanced age.
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