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Eur J Endocrinol. 1998 Jun;138(6):653-8.

Hyperleptinaemia is associated with impaired gonadotrophin response to GnRH during late puberty in obese girls, not boys.

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Pediatric Endocrinology, Saint Vincent de Paul, Paris, France.


In ob/ob mice, leptin deficiency results in hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism, impaired sexual maturation and infertility, which are all corrected by leptin administration. In humans, pubertal development and menarche are related to the attainment of a critical amount of body fat. To examine whether changes in circulating concentrations of leptin could be a hormonal signal influencing gonadotrophin secretion, we studied 98 adolescents and young adults of both sexes, aged 13-19 years, whose weight varied from normal to massively obese and whose sexual maturation was between Tanner stages 3 and 5. We measured leptin, sex steroids and circulating gonadotrophin concentrations in the basal state and in response to GnRH. In perimenarchial and young adult girls, we found that the LH and FSH responses to GnRH were negatively correlated with body mass index (BMI: r = -0.45 and -0.47 respectively, P < 0.0025) and circulating leptin (r = -0.53 and -0.49 respectively, P < 0.002). Decreased LH and FSH responses to GnRH were associated with increased adiposity and hyperleptinaemia. Our data do not establish, but are consistent with a direct neuroendocrine negative effect of excess leptin on the central reproductive system of obese girls. In boys of comparable adiposity, we found no influence of BMI or leptin on gonadotrophin concentrations, which is another aspect of the sexual dimorphism characterizing human leptin physiology.

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