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Obes Res. 1998 May;6(3):196-201.

Prader-Willi syndrome: relationship of adiposity to plasma leptin levels.

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  • 1Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10025, USA.



Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is an autosomal dominant disorder involving the proximal long arm of chromosome 15, in which obesity is common. However, there is limited information on the underlying physiological mechanisms promoting obesity in this population. We tested whether there was a significant positive association between leptin and total body fat (TBF) in subjects with PWS, and whether this association was stronger among subjects with than without PWS.


We studied 21 PWS patients and 64 non-PWS controls on whom we measured serum leptin, total body fat, glucose, insulin, and resting energy expenditure. We tested whether the slope of the regression line between leptin and TBF (in kg), measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, was the same for PWS patients and non-PWS controls.


Regression analyses indicated that the leptin-TBF association was significantly stronger among PWS patients. In contrast, the slope of the leptin-body mass index association did not significantly differ between PWS patients and non-PWS controls. None of the other outcome variables showed associations with leptin.


Results suggest that the role of leptin in promoting obesity may be greater among subjects with PWS than among non-PWS controls.

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