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Kidney Int. 1998 Jun;53(6):1483-7.

The Ob protein (leptin) and the kidney.

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Department of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Mutation of the Ob gene, which encodes for leptin, or mutation of the leptin receptor leads to obesity in mice. Humans, for the most part, have a positive correlation of leptin with body fat mass suggesting possible defects in leptin effector mechanisms that may contribute to obesity. As patients on hemodialysis have difficulty with appetite, we investigated whether leptin is cleared by the kidney and is elevated in hemodialysis patients. In patients with intact renal function there was a net renal uptake of 12% of circulating leptin, whereas in patients with renal insufficiency there was no renal uptake of leptin. In a separate cohort of 36 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), peripheral leptin levels factored for body mass index was increased by fourfold as compared to a group of healthy controls (N = 338). The leptin receptor exists in a long and short form, with the long form primarily expressed in the hypothalamus but also in the lungs and kidneys of the mouse. Further studies are necessary to clarify the role of leptin in regulating appetite in patients with ESRD and the role of leptin in directly affecting kidney function via its receptors.

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