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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jun;96(6):E996-1000. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-3006. Epub 2011 Apr 6.

Role of baseline leptin and ghrelin levels on body weight and fat mass changes after an energy-restricted diet intervention in obese women: effects on energy metabolism.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of the Basque Country, Paseo de la Universidad, 7.01006 Vitoria, Spain.

Erratum in

  • J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Apr;97(4):1399.



Hormones related to energy balance control may play an important role on weight loss resistance after low-caloric diet (LCD) intervention.


To investigate the predictive value of baseline leptin and ghrelin on body fat mass (FM) loss after 12 wk of LCD intervention and to study whether these associations could be related to changes in resting metabolic rate (RMR).


The study comprised a total of 78 obese women (age 36.7 ± 7 yr). We measured, before and after the LCD intervention, FM (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) and RMR (kilojoules per kilogram body weight per day, indirect calorimetry). We also analyzed fasting serum leptin and ghrelin, and leptin to ghrelin ratio was calculated.


FM and RMR changes (data at baseline - data after the intervention) were assessed.


Baseline serum leptin (r = -0.301; age- and baseline FM-adjusted P = 0.009) and ghrelin (r = 0.314, adjusted P = 0.014) levels as well as leptin to ghrelin levels (r = -0.331; adjusted P = 0.009) were significantly correlated with FM changes. Leptin to ghrelin ratio was significantly correlated with RMR at baseline and after the LCD (both P < 0.010). Baseline leptin to ghrelin ratio significantly predicted changes in RMR after the LCD (r = 0.298; P = 0.019) regardless of age, baseline RMR, and total body weight (r = 0.307; P = 0.016) or FM loss (r = 0.312; P = 0.015).


Obese women with higher leptin and lower ghrelin levels at baseline seem to be more resistant to FM loss. The leptin to ghrelin ratio could be proposed as a biomarker for predicting metabolic adaptations to energy restriction treatment and, if confirmed in future studies, as a predictor of treatment success/failure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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