Characterization of fat distribution in Prader–Willi syndrome: Relationships with adipocytokines and influence of growth hormone treatment


  • How to Cite this Article: Tanaka Y, Abe Y, Oto Y, Itabashi H, Shiraishi M, Yoshino A, Obata K, Murakami N, Nagai T. 2012. Characterization of fat distribution in Prader–Willi syndrome: relationships with adipocytokines and influence of growth hormone treatment. Am J Med Genet Part A 161A:27–33.

  • Conflict of interest: The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


Marked anthropometric changes are seen in Prader–Willi syndrome (PWS). Emaciation is observed during infancy, whereas severe obesity is found in older children and adults. Growth hormone (GH) treatment modifies the anthropometric changes in PWS patients. In this study, we examined changes in the body composition of 51 PWS patients (age range, 6–54 years; median, 16.5 years), with a focus on the amount of abdominal visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), VAT/SAT ratio, and serum levels of adipocytokines (adiponectin, leptin, and resistin). The relationships between VAT, SAT, and adipocytokines, and lipid abnormalities and type 2 diabetes in 24 patients with obese PWS were also evaluated. With increasing age, SAT and VAT both increased markedly, but in 18 patients receiving GH treatment, VAT remained low at ≤30 cm2. In the GH-completed patients (n = 19), VAT and SAT increased with age to levels similar to those in non-GH-treated patients (n = 14). In the obese group, adiponectin decreased as VAT increased (r = –0.35, P = 0.11). Leptin (r = 0.67, P < 0.001) and resistin (r = 0.45, P = 0.04) showed positive correlations with SAT. Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, and triglyceride levels correlated negatively with adiponectin (r = –0.59, r = –0.56, r = –0.56, respectively, P < 0.05) and hemoglobin A1c (r = –0.42, P = 0.08). To maintain lower VAT and prevent cardiovascular disease risk factors, GH treatment may be advisable even in adult patients with PWS. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.