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Diabetes Care. 1999 Mar;22(3):413-7.

Plasma leptin concentrations in Pima Indians living in drastically different environments.

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  • 1Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch, Arizona, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Plasma leptin, an important signal for the regulation of energy stores, is known to be influenced by many hormonal factors, but may also be affected by behavioral and environmental factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of lifestyle (diet composition, level of physical activity) on plasma leptin concentrations among Pima Indians living in drastically different environments.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

We studied 224 Mexican Pima Indians (115 women, 109 men) living a traditional lifestyle in a remote, mountainous area of northwest Mexico and 418 U.S. Pima Indians (281 women, 137 men) living a North American lifestyle on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. We hypothesized that the absolute value of leptin would be lower in Mexican Pima Indians because of their lower percent body fat, but could be further influenced by their lifestyle, independent of body composition.

RESULTS:

Leptin concentration (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) was strongly correlated with percent fat (bioimpedance) in Mexican Pima Indians (r = 0.83, P < 0.0001) and U.S. Pima Indians (r = 0.86, P < 0.0001). Among U.S. Pima Indians, independent of percent fat, subjects with type 2 diabetes had lower leptin than nondiabetic subjects (difference = 6.9 +/- 1.0 ng/ml, P < 0.002). Among nondiabetic subjects, Mexican Pima Indians had lower absolute leptin concentrations than U.S. Pima Indians, but higher after adjustment for percent body fat, waist circumference, age, and sex. In a subset of 70 pairs of subjects matched for sex and percent body fat, leptin concentration was 4.4 +/- 1.0 ng/ml (P < 0.0001) higher in Mexican Pima Indians versus U.S. Pima Indians.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that independent of body composition, leptin concentration may be increased by environmental factors, such as a high-carbohydrate diet and a high level of physical activity.

PMID:
10097920
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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