Association of leptin and hunger-satiety ratings in obese women


OBJECTIVE: To measure leptin, insulin and cholecystokinin (CCK) concentrations in obese women on calorie restriction and to determine their correlation with hunger-satiety ratings. Although it has been proposed to play a role in appetite regulation, the effects of physiological concentrations of these hormones on hunger-satiety in humans have not yet been well established.

DESIGN: Prospective metabolic study. A two week `wash-in period’ followed by a three-week observation period, during which each subject underwent six measurements of satiety, blood parameters and body weight.

SETTING: Energy Metabolism Research Unit, Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.

SUBJECTS: 22 moderately to severely overweight women (mean age: 45±8 y; body mass index (BMI): 33±6 kg/m2).

INTERVENTION: Energy restriction, in the form of a 3.3 MJ (800 kcal) diet during five weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Fasting blood levels of leptin, insulin, glucose and CCK, fasting hunger-satiety scores and body weight.

RESULTS: The mean (±s.d.) fasting serum leptin concentration at the beginning of the observation period was 26.1±15.9 ng/ml (range: 6.7–59.8 ng/ml). Leptin concentrations correlated positively with body weight (P<0.0001). Furthermore, reductions in body weight were associated with decreases in fasting leptin levels (P=0.002). Leptin concentrations correlated with serum levels of insulin (P=0.0001) and CCK (P=0.06), but in multivariate analysis including insulin, CCK and glucose, only leptin had a significant relationship with satiety (P=0.04). This relationship was linear.

CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the association between leptin levels, body weight and serum insulin. We also showed that higher serum leptin levels correlated with greater feelings of fullness, a relationship which was not blunted in the more obese subjects. These findings suggest that leptin is a satiety hormone that reduces appetite, even in obese individuals, and that weight gain must be due to other factors, overriding this feed-back regulation.

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Correspondence to RL Weinsier.

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Heini, A., Lara-Castro, C., Kirk, K. et al. Association of leptin and hunger-satiety ratings in obese women. Int J Obes 22, 1084–1087 (1998).

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  • obesity
  • hormone
  • satiety
  • appetite regulation
  • leptin
  • cholecystokinin
  • insulin
  • body weight

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