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Deficient serum furin predicts risk of abdominal obesity: findings from a prospective cohort of Chinese adults
  1. Yan He1,
  2. Liyun Ren1,
  3. Qiu Zhang2,
  4. Mingzhi Zhang1,
  5. Jijun Shi3,
  6. Weidong Hu3,
  7. Hao Peng1
  1. 1 Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Medical College of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  2. 2 Chronic Disease Control, Center for Disease Prevention and Control of Gusu District, Suzhou, China
  3. 3 Neurology, Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Hao Peng, Epidemiology, Soochow University Medical College, Suzhou 215123, China; penghao{at}


Background As a key enzyme of natriuretic peptides system playing an integral role in energy homeostasis, furin may be a potential contributor to obesity. However, the association between furin and obesity has been scarcely studied. This study aims to examine the prospective association between serum furin and abdominal obesity.

Methods Waist circumference (WC) was measured twice 4 years apart for a total of 892 Chinese adults free of abdominal obesity at baseline. Abdominal obesity was defined as WC over 85 cm for men and as WC over 80 cm for women. A Cox proportional hazard model was constructed to examine the association of baseline serum furin with incident abdominal obesity.

Results After an average 4 years of follow-up, 184 participants developed new abdominal obesity. Baseline serum furin was significantly associated with dynamic body weight during follow-up (β=−0.593, p=0.003). Participants with a higher level of serum furin at baseline were less likely to develop new abdominal obesity compared with those with a lower level of serum furin (HR=0.81, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.97).

Conclusions A lower level of serum furin predicts a higher risk of developing future abdominal obesity in Chinese adults. Furin deficiency may be a contributor to abdominal obesity but still needs further investigations.

  • epidemiology
  • general medicine (see internal medicine)

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  • YH, LR and QZ are joint first authors.

  • YH, LR and QZ contributed equally.

  • Contributors YH and LR performed the statistical data analysis and drafted the manuscript. HP developed the concept of the study design and contributed to draft the manuscript. QZ and MZ were responsible for the technical aspects of serum furin measurements. JS, WH and QZ obtained the clinical data and critically reviewed the manuscript. All authors contributed to draft the final versions of the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (no. 2015T80584 and 2014M551661), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (no. 81872690 and 81903384), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (no. BK20180841), and the Suzhou Science and Technology Project (no. SS201853 and GSWS2019091).

  • Disclaimer The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The protocols of the current study were approved by the Soochow University Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. The datasets used during the current study are available from the corresponding author on a resonable request.