Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Metabolism. 1998 Aug;47(8):988-92.

Serum leptin in obese women with polycystic ovary syndrome is correlated with body weight and fat distribution but not with androgen and insulin levels.

Author information

  • 1Dipartimento di Medicina Interna e Gastroenterologia, University of Bologna, Italy.


Leptin is a hormone produced in the adipose tissue and its concentrations in peripheral blood are significantly correlated with the amount of body fat. Whether other factors, including the pattern of body fat distribution and several hormones (such as insulin, sex steroids, and glucocorticoids), may be involved in the regulation of circulating blood leptin levels is controversial. Women with the polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are hyperandrogenic and most of them are characterized by hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance, and obesity, particularly the visceral phenotype. To assess the potential contribution of anthropometric factors, androgens, and insulin in determining leptin levels, we examined their relationship with body-mass index (BMI), visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue areas, basal androgen levels, and fasting and glucose-stimulated (AUC) insulin in different groups of obese women with PCOS (n = 23) and of age-matched obese (n = 16) and non-obese (n = 10) otherwise healthy controls. The VAT/SAT ratio was measured as a parameter of body fat distribution. Serum leptin levels were significantly higher in obese PCOS women than in obese and normal-weight healthy controls and, within the controls, in the obese than in the non-obese group. In all women considered together, and in each group separately, leptin concentrations were highly significantly correlated with BMI. In addition, after adjusting for BMI, both VAT and the VAT/SAT ratio were positively and significantly correlated with leptin. Partial correlations with the VAT/SAT ratio remained significant in both the obese PCOS group and in controls considered separately, whereas the correlation with the SAT value was significant only in the control group. After adjusting for BMI, no correlation between leptin, androgens and fasting or stimulated (like AUC) insulin was found. These findings indicate that leptin levels in obese women with PCOS are higher than those observed in obese and non-obese controls. Moreover, they suggest that, other than BMI, the pattern of body fat distribution may be an independent factor related to circulating leptin levels, which, on the contrary, do not appear to be related to either androgen or insulin concentrations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center