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J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Oct;63(5):471-81.

Expression and release of leptin and proinflammatory cytokines in patients with ulcerative colitis and infectious diarrhea.

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  • 1Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases Clinic, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland.


Leptin plays not only an important role in regulation of food intake, but also in the mechanism of inflammation. The universal presence of leptin in the cells of immune system and its secretion by these cells caused increasing interest in the role of this hormone in ulcerative colitis (UC). We determined the role of leptin in 80 patients, aged from 18 to 69 years, including 50 patients with active UC and 30 patients with infectious diarrhea. The tests were performed within 48 hours of the first symptoms, in the period of remission of UC and 8 weeks after resolution of infectious diarrhea. Endoscopy was performed in each patient, and the biopsy samples were taken for the assessments of expression of mRNA for leptin, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α by RT-PCR and Western blot. Blood tests included concentrations of leptin, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α. In addition, the plasma levels of leptin, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α were assessed by ELISA. Serum concentrations of leptin was significantly increased in patients with exacerbation of UC over that in patients with UC in remission. The serum leptin concentration was significantly higher in patients with infectious diarrhea, than the patients that recovered from infectious diarrhea. The leptin protein was overexpressed in the biopsy samples of the mucosa of large intestine compared to those with exacerbation of UC, and in patients after successful recovery from infectious diarrhea. The leptin mRNA was overexpressed in patients with infectious diarrhea compared with that in the group of patients after successful recovery from this condition. Serum concentrations of leptin failed to correlate with severity of exacerbation of UC and with extent of intestinal inflammatory lesions in patients with UC. However, the correlation was observed between serum concentrations of leptin in patients with exacerbation of UC and serum concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α. We conclude that 1) the increased leptin in exacerbated UC is related to the increased serum proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β, TNF-α and IL-6 levels; 2) In patients with infectious diarrhea, the concentrations of leptin in intestinal mucosa correlates with serum concentrations of cytokines IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α and with an increased expression of leptin mRNA in intestinal mucosa but not with alterations in serum levels of this hormone; 3) leptin may serve as useful predictive marker of inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

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