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Rev Esp Med Nucl. 2000 Jun;19(3):199-206.

[Plasma levels of insulin and leptin in patients with morbid obesity and anorexia nervosa after weight loss or gain, respectively].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Servicio de Endocrinología y Nutricion, Hospital Universitario Puerta del Mar, Cádiz. lescobar@nhcges.com


The present study was conducted in order to analyze the relationship existing between leptin and insulin levels in massive weight loss and weight recovery. Thirteen patients with severe obesity, 14 patients with anorexia nervosa and 13 healthy control subjects were studied. The patients with severe obesity underwent a vertical banded gastroplasty followed by an 800 kcal/day diet for 12 weeks. They were evaluated prior to (body mass index [BMI] 51.2 +/- 8.8 Kg/m2) and after drastic weight loss (BMI 40.6 +/- 6.7 Kg/m2). Patients with anorexia nervosa were treated exclusively with nutritional therapy during 12 weeks, and they were evaluated at their lowest weight status (BMI 16.2 +/- 2.2 Kg/m2) and after weight recovery (BMI 17.9 +/- 2.3 Kg/m2). The BMI of the normal subjects was in the normal range of 20 to 27 Kg/m2 (average 22.8 +/- 2.6 Kg/m2). BMI, percentage of body fat, waist circumference, and serum levels of leptin, insulin, and C-peptide were determined in each patient and normal subject. In severely obese patients, serum leptin and insulin decreased significantly after drastic weight reduction (leptin: from 51.8 +/- 22.3 to 23.7 +/- 10.2 ng/ml; insulin: from 27.1 +/- 13.3 to 17.2 +/- 7.2 mU/ml). In patients with anorexia nervosa, the mean serum leptin levels were significantly higher after weight recovery (5.5 +/- 3.2 vs 7.6 +/- 6 ng/ml). Serum leptin in the severe obesity group correlated positively with BMI, percentage body fat and waist circumference before and after weight loss. In those patients suffering from anorexia nervosa, serum leptin correlated positively with the BMI, percentage of body fat, and waist circumference in the low weight state and after weight recovery. In addition, their serum insulin correlated with BMI and waist circumference after weight recovery. These data reveal that serum leptin concentration correlates significantly with the BMI and body fat content 1) in subjects with a range of weight and caloric intake, 2) in obese patients after drastic weight loss; 3) in anorexic patients after weight gain; and that hyper- or normoinsulinemia do not seem to have any influence on the leptin changes caused by weight loss or gain.

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