In adipose tissues, adipokine levels, including adiponectin and leptin, are involved in insulin sensitivity and are reciprocally induced by cold temperature stress. Thermogenic response in the extremities (hands and feet) against cold stress can be negatively related to fat mass accumulation, particularly in the abdomen. However, the relationship between the sensation of cold in the extremities and circulating levels of adipokines is not fully understood. Here, we investigated whether adipokine levels are associated with cold hypersensitivity in the hands and feet (CHHF), independent of body mass, and whether the CHHF is related to metabolic syndrome (MS).
Associations of the CHHF with serum levels of adipokines and MS risk were evaluated in 1021 Koreans (372 men and 649 women), using a linear regression model while controlling for thermogenic factors and a logistic regression model, respectively.
The adiponectin levels were positively associated with the CHHF, particularly in women, irrespective of thermogenic factors, including body mass index (β = 1.23 μg/mL, 95% confidence interval [1.04–1.45]). Logistic regression analysis for MS risk via the CHHF showed that there was a significant inverse association in women (odds ratio = 0.449, 95% confidence interval [0.273–0.737]).
In summary, our founding indicated that the CHHF could induce increased levels of circulating adiponectin and in turn reduce the MS risk in women. Despite complaints of feeling cold, these women could be at lower risk of cardiovascular disease.