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Br J Biomed Sci. 1999;56(1):16-9.

Serum leptin levels during the menstrual cycle of healthy fertile women.

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  • 1Division of Biomedical Sciences, Sheffield Hallam University, UK.


Leptin is a protein, produced by adipose tissue, which has cytokine and hormonal properties. Serum leptin levels can be considered as a measure of body fat mass, and are involved in regulation of body weight. Previous studies suggest that leptin may have an additional role in reproduction, and there is also evidence for involvement in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. In this study, we investigate the possible changes in serum leptin concentration throughout the menstrual cycle. Samples were collected from apparently healthy, fertile women at different stages in their menstrual cycle, timed precisely according to the luteinising hormone (LH) surge. Mean serum leptin levels were significantly higher in the luteal phase (median 11.4 ng/mL) than in the follicular phase (median 10.0 ng/mL) (P < 0.001). In addition, mean serum leptin levels correlated with body mass index (r = 0.54, P < 0.05), but showed no correlation with luteal-phase progesterone levels. Results showed that levels of serum leptin vary during the menstrual cycle, and add to the mounting evidence that leptin has a role in reproduction. These fluctuations should be taken into account whenever studies are performed using female subjects.

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