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J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Dec;26(12):1552-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2011.04401.x. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

Assessment of serum leptin, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in patients with skin tags.

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Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.



Skin tags are common cutaneous lesions with an indefinite aetiology.


To assess serum leptin, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in different body mass index (BMI) patients with skin tags.


Three equally distributed groups of patients with multiple skin tags: 30 normal BMI, 30 overweight and 30 obese were included. Controls were age-, gender- and BMI-matched healthy subjects. Serum leptin, insulin resistance based on homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and metabolic syndrome were assessed in all groups.


Number and extent of skin tags increase with the increase in BMI. Highest leptin levels were found in obese patients, with significant differences when compared to normal BMI and overweight patients. Similar findings existed in controls. Significantly higher leptin levels were found in obese patients compared to obese controls. HOMA-IR was significantly higher in all groups of patients compared to BMI-counterpart controls. Seventy-one per cent of patients fulfilled criteria of metabolic syndrome. Number of skin tags, leptin and HOMA-IR were significantly higher in patients with metabolic syndrome compared to patients without the syndrome. Positive correlations were found between serum leptin and HOMA-IR in obese patients and obese controls. Positive correlations were also found between number of skin tags and waist circumference in all groups of patients.


Serum leptin displays an association with obesity and insulin resistance. Assessment of HOMA-IR in patients with skin tags may serve as a useful approach for diagnosis of insulin resistance. Waist circumference is the only criteria of metabolic syndrome that correlates with number of skin tags.

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