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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2001 Oct 25;183(1-2):11-8.

The effect of leptin on Na(+)-H(+) antiport (NHE 1) activity of obese and normal subjects erythrocytes.

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Laboratory of Animal Physiology, School of Biology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54006, Greece.


Obesity is currently considered as a chronic metabolic disease, associated with a high risk of cardiovascular complications. Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone has a variety target cells influencing a wide range of processes. Possible counteractions of hyperleptinaemia are currently investigated. The Na(+)-H(+) exchanger (NHE 1) is involved in multiple cellular functions and its activation has been related to hypertension and obesity. NHE 1 is present on erythrocytes and can be stimulated by various hormones. Erythrocytes have on their surface a variety of receptors with mostly unknown function. In the present paper, the effect of leptin on erythrocytes NHE 1 activity has been investigated. For this reason, the intracellular pH and sodium influxes were measured before and after addition of leptin in erythrocyte suspensions from normal and obese individuals. Amiloride, a specific NHE 1 inhibitor, and staurosporine a protein kinase C inhibitor were used to inhibit erythrocyte NHE 1. For the binding study leptin was labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and the binding on erythrocytes was estimated by Scatchard analysis. NHE 1 activity increased in the presence of leptin but significantly less in the obese than in the control group. Furthermore the concentrations of leptin binding sites on the surface of erythrocytes were lower in erythrocytes drawn from obese individuals than in erythrocytes drawn from normal subjects. Since NHE 1 activity has been associated with insulin resistance and hypertension, the activation of this antiport by leptin may represent a link between adipose tissue hypertrophy and cardiovascular complications of obesity.

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