Associations Between Blood-Based and Biochemical Markers of Inflammation and Body Mass

Associations Between Blood-Based and Biochemical Markers of Inflammation and Body Mass 1024 575 Mary Bates, PhD

Blood-based markers of inflammation increased with increasing body mass in healthy adolescents.

The chronic inflammatory disease atherosclerosis has its origins in childhood and adolescence; however, there are currently no simple methods to easily identify at-risk adolescents. 

In a new study, researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital explored the relationships between blood-based and biochemical markers of inflammation and body mass in adolescents. 

Previous studies have demonstrated that certain biochemical inflammatory markers increase with obesity, but obtaining these measures can be expensive and require specialized equipment. 

“We are concerned that this inflammation in pediatric obesity may be an early marker of cardiovascular risk,” says the study’s lead author Robert Hoffman, MD, a member of the Section of Endocrinology at Nationwide Children’s. “We wanted to see whether there were simpler markers of inflammation, measures that are routinely done as part of a complete blood count, and how they might be related to obesity in pediatrics.” 

In their sample of 75 healthy, white adolescents of varying weights, the researchers found that blood-based inflammatory markers (particularly neutrophil and platelet to lymphocyte ratio and pan immune inflammation value) increased with increasing body mass. These blood-based markers were associated with biochemical markers of inflammation, which also increased with increasing body mass. 

The analyses did not reveal a relationship between the blood-based inflammatory markers and measured cardiometabolic risk factors. Dr. Hoffman and colleagues previously reported a lack of relationship between biochemical markers of inflammation and cardiometabolic risk. 

Dr. Hoffman, who is also a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, says this study can act as a stepping stone for future work exploring the consequences of increased inflammation in adolescence. His team, for instance, is planning a longitudinal study to look at how blood-based markers of inflammation may predict the development of type 2 diabetes in adolescents.

“Now that we have shown that blood-based measures can be used to assess inflammation in pediatric obesity, we and others can investigate how these markers predict long-term health,” says Dr. Hoffman. “Our data demonstrate that we as clinicians need to talk to our young patients who are overweight and indicate that they have markers of future health risks. 



Hoffman RP, Yu CY. Hematologic and biochemical inflammatory markers increase with body mass and positively correlate in adolescents. Pediatric Research. 2023 Aug 12. doi: 10.1038/s41390-023-02769-x

Image credit: Adobe Stock

About the author

Mary a freelance science writer and blogger based in Boston. Her favorite topics include biology, psychology, neuroscience, ecology, and animal behavior. She has a BA in Biology-Psychology with a minor in English from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, and a PhD from Brown University, where she researched bat echolocation and bullfrog chorusing.