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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Dec;88(12):5795-800.

Leptin and bone mineral density: a cross-sectional study in obese and nonobese men.

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Department of Human Nutrition, Centre of Advanced Food Research, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, DK-1958 Frederiksberg, Denmark.


Leptin has been suggested to decrease bone mineral density (BMD). This observational analysis explored the relationship between serum leptin and BMD in 327 nonobese men (controls) (body mass index 26.1 +/- 3.7 kg/m(2), age 49.9 +/- 6.0 yr) and 285 juvenile obese men (body mass index 35.9 +/- 5.9 kg/m(2), age 47.5 +/- 5.1 yr). Whole-body dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan measured BMD, fat mass, and lean mass. Fasting serum leptin (nanograms per milliliter) was strongly associated with fat mass (kilograms) in both controls (r = 0.876; P < 0.01) and juvenile obese (r = 0.838; P < 0.001). An inverse relation between BMD adjusted for body weight and serum leptin emerged in both the control group (r = -0.186; P < 0.01) and the juvenile obese group (r = -0.135; P < 0.05). In a multiple linear regression, fat mass, lean body mass, and occupational physical activity were positively associated with BMD in the control group, whereas in the juvenile obese, only lean body mass was positively associated with BMD and smoking negatively associated with BMD. Our study supports that leptin is inversely associated with BMD and may play a direct role in the bone metabolism in nonobese and obese Danish males, but it also stresses the fact that the strong covariation between the examined variables is a shortcoming of the cross-sectional design.

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