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International Journal of Obesity (2010) 34, 203–206; doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.208; published online 6 October 2009

Leptin is essential in maintaining normal vascular compliance independent of body weight

G Sikka1, R Yang2, S Reid2,3, A Benjo1, N Koitabashi2, A Camara1, E Baraban1, C P O'Donnell4, D E Berkowitz1 and L A Barouch2

  1. 1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
  2. 2Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
  3. 3Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA
  4. 4Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Correspondence: Dr LA Barouch, Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Ross Research Building 1050, 720 Rutland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. E-mail: Barouch@jhmi.edu

Received 3 April 2009; Revised 6 August 2009; Accepted 22 August 2009; Published online 6 October 2009.

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Abstract

The adipocytokine leptin centrally regulates body weight by enhancing metabolic rate and signaling satiety, but it also has wide-ranging peripheral effects. Leptin receptors are expressed on vascular smooth muscle cells and have a role in maintaining vascular tone. We investigated the vascular effects of leptin repletion or calorie restriction on leptin-deficient mice (ob/ob) and a leptin antagonist on wild-type (WT) mice. Aortic compliance was assessed by the measurement of pulse wave velocity by noninvasive Doppler; blood pressure was measured by left ventricular catheterization. We found that ob/ob mice have much stiffer aortas than WT mice and that reduction in aortic stiffness was greater in ob/ob mice treated with leptin vs calorie restriction, despite similar weight loss. Interestingly, treating WT mice with a leptin antagonist increases aortic stiffness with no change in weight. Thus, we conclude that leptin is essential for maintaining normal aortic compliance independent of body weight.

Keywords:

leptin, vascular compliance, aorta, pulse wave velocity

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