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Is leptin sensitivity the link between smoking cessation and weight gain?


The known association between smoking cessation and weight gain, and the suggested role of leptin in the control of body weight, led to the present study which examined the association between smoking and serum leptin concentrations. Mean serum leptin levels, independent of body mass index (BMI), were calculated in male smokers and non-smokers from Nauru, Western Samoa and Mauritius. Smokers were generally leaner than non-smokers, and of similar ages. Levels of physical activity and glucose tolerance status were similar for smokers and non-smokers in Nauru and Western Samoa, while in Mauritius smokers were more active and less likely to be diabetic. Leptin concentrations in smokers were significantly lower than in non-smokers, even after adjusting for BMI, waist/hip ratio (WHR) or waist girth (P≤0.04). This association was independent of diabetes status. Smoking, via nicotinic mechanisms, may modify the sensitivity of hypothalamic leptin receptors and consequently modulate leptin synthesis and reduce body weight.

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Hodge, A., Westerman, R., de Courten, M. et al. Is leptin sensitivity the link between smoking cessation and weight gain?. Int J Obes 21, 50–53 (1997).

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  • leptin
  • nicotinic receptors
  • weight gain
  • cigarette smoking

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