Biomarkers could improve early detection of obesty-related lifestyle disease

The results of Maria Arlén Larsen‘s PhD thesis suggest new biomarkers to detect lifestyle diseases early.


  1. Insulin and leptin resistance is common in metabolically healthy obesity.

  2. Leptin and adiponectin regulation following high-fat and high-sugar meals is impaired in obese individuals.
  3. Leptin:adioponectin ratio predicts delayed postprandial fat clearance.


Thesis: Early markers of metabolic disease in obesity – A study of postprandial triglycerides, leptin and adiponectin interactions in the view of normal and dysregulated metabolism
Candidate: Maria Arlén Larsen
Time: December 6, 2019 at 12:15
Place: UiT The Arctic University of Norway, MH Vest: Auditorium Cortex
Link to university website


Larsen’s studies include blood samples from 36 obese individuals without and 14 with lifestyle diseases, and 17 healthy persons of normal weight.

(1) A majority of young, apparently healthy obese persons have insulin resistance measured as HOMA-IR. Furthermore, they have delayed fat metabolism, as evidenced by delayed clearance of serum and chylomicron triglycerides six hours after a meal. Upper normal levels of fasting triglycerides predicted delayed postprandial triglyceride clearance and insulin resistance.

(2) Leptin:adiponectin ratio can detect early metabolic disturbances in obese persons. Leptin resistance, as well as insulin resistance and delayed triglyceride clearance, was highly prevalent in metabolically healthy obese individuals, and even more so in metabolically unhealthy obese individuals. A high leptin:adiponection ratio predicted delayed triglyceride clearance with good specificity and sensitivity.

(3) Obese persons have imbalanced leptin and adiponectin regulation following a meal. In healthy normal weight individuals, adiponectin and leptin decreased up to eight hours following an oral fat tolerance test, whereas these changes were absent in the obese participants. Moreover, the levels of adiponectin and leptin remained unchanged in the normal weight group after an oral glucose tolerance test, but decreased significantly in the obese group.


(1) Larsen, M. A., Goll, R., Lekahl, S., Moen, O. S., & Florholmen, J. (2015). Delayed clearance of triglyceride‐rich lipoproteins in young, healthy obese subjectsClinical obesity5(6), 349-357.

(2) Larsen, M. A., Isaksen, V. T., Moen, O. S., Wilsgaard, L., Remijn, M., Paulssen, E. J., Florholmen, J., & Goll, R. (2018). Leptin to adiponectin ratio–A surrogate biomarker for early detection of metabolic disturbances in obesity. Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases28(11), 1114-1121.

(3) Larsen, M. A., Isaksen, V. T., Paulssen, E. J., Goll, R., & Florholmen, J. R. (2019). Postprandial leptin and adiponectin in response to sugar and fat in obese and normal weight individualsEndocrine, 1-9.

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