Background: Oxidative stress has a pivotal role in the onset of obesity-related chronic diseases. This study assessed potential gender differences in the associations of adiposity (total vs. central) with oxidative stress markers in healthy young adults.
Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled 272 subjects (97 males, 175 females; 22 +/- 3 years, body mass index 22.0 +/- 2.8 kg/m(2)). Body composition, cardiometabolic and lifestyle features, oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (ox-LDL) concentrations, plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in erythrocytes were determined by validated procedures.
Results: Compared to women, men had statistically higher concentrations of ox-LDL (61.7 vs. 53.5 U/l, p 0.022). In analyses with the whole sample, those individuals included in the highest tertile of central adiposity indicators (waist circumference, WC, or waist-to-hip ratio, WHR) presented higher ox-LDL and lower TAC values (p < 0.01), while no statistical differences were found across tertiles of total body fat. WHR values were more strongly associated with ox-LDL and TAC concentrations, compared to other adiposity indicators, with higher slopes for women. Sex differences in ox-LDL concentrations were abolished (p > 0.05) after individual pairing of men and women for WC (53.8 vs. 61.6 U/l, p = 0.225) or WHR (56.1 vs. 56.3 U/l, p = 0.471). No differences were found in GPx values concerning gender or adiposity indicators.
Conclusions: Plasma ox-LDL and TAC values were more strongly influenced by central adiposity indicators (WHR and WC) in women than in men, suggesting that the change of the gynoid to android pattern phenotype among young women could lead to a steeper unfavourable redox status compared to men.