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Metabolism. 1997 Dec;46(12):1384-9.

Neuropeptide Y, galanin, and leptin release in obese women and in women with anorexia nervosa.

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Department of Neuroendocrinology, Postgraduate Medical Education Centre, Warsaw, Poland.


The study objective was to determine circulating levels of the appetite-controlling neuropeptides, neuropeptide Y (NPY), galanin, and leptin, in subjects with eating disorders. The study group consisted of 48 obese women aged 19 to 45 years, 15 women with anorexia nervosa aged 18 to 23 years, and 19 lean healthy women aged 18 to 42 years (control group). The obese women were divided into four groups: (A) body mass index (BMI) = 25 to 30 kg/m2, n = 9 (overweight); (B) BMI = 31 to 40 kg/m2, n = 23 (moderate obesity); (C) BMI greater than 40 kg/m2, n = 9 (severe obesity); and (D) BMI = 31 to 40 kg/m2, n = 7 (moderate obesity + non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus [NIDDM]). Plasma NPY, galanin, and leptin concentrations were measured in peripheral blood samples with radioimmunoassay methods. Plasma NPY levels in obese women (groups A, B, C, and D) were significantly higher as compared with the control group (P < .01, P < .001, P < .001, and P < .001, respectively). The highest plasma NPY concentrations were observed in obese women with NIDDM. Plasma galanin levels were significantly higher in groups B, C, and D (P < .001, P < .001, and P < .001, respectively). Plasma leptin concentrations were significantly higher in groups C and D as compared with the control group (P < .001 and P < .001, respectively). Plasma NPY and galanin concentrations in women with anorexia nervosa did not differ from the levels in the control group. However, plasma leptin concentrations were significantly lower in anorectic women than in the control group (P < .01). Our results indicate that inappropriate plasma concentrations of NPY, galanin, and leptin in obese women may be a consequence of their weight status, or could be one of many factors involved in the pathogenesis of obesity.

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