Circulating leptin concentrations in polycystic ovary syndrome: Relation to anthropometric and metabolic parameters

Ian M. Chapman, Gary A. Wittert, Robert J. Norman

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115 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To determine the relation between metabolic and anthropometric parameters and circulating leptin concentrations in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Design and Patients. Correlation of fasting serum leptin concentrations with anthropometric measures and multiple metabolic parameters including insulin and glucose responses to a 2-hour 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in 85 women with PCOS (17-36 years, body mass index (BMI) 29.9 ± 0.9 kg/m2, mean ± SD) and 18 control women (25-47 years, BMI 25 ± 1.7 kg/m2). Diagnostic criteria for PCOS: characteristic ovarian morphology on ultrasound plus at least two of (1) elevated serum testosterone; (2) elevated serum androstenedione; and (3) reduced serum SHBG concentrations. Measurements. Concentrations of androgens, lipids, PRL, gonadotrophins, and leptin were measured in the baseline fasting blood sample from an OGTT. Insulin and glucose were measured throughout OGTT. Serum leptin concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. Results. Log leptin levels in the PCOS group correlated significantly with BMI (r = 0.85, P < 0.0001) and with 8 other parameters including waist/hip ratio (r = 0.51, P = 0.0005). By stepwise regression analysis, only BMI (P < 0.0001) and plasma high density lipoprotein concentration (P = 0.02) were independently correlated with log leptin levels, both positively. There was no effect of fat distribution, as measured by waist/hip ratio, on leptin concentrations. Comparison of control subjects to a BMI-matched subgroup of 55 PCOS subjects revealed significantly higher circulating concentrations of LH, testosterone, DHEAS, progesterone and androstenedione, and higher glucose and insulin responses to OGTT in the PCOS group. Leptin levels were not different between the PCOS subgroup and control group (14.8 ± 1.3 vs 12.1 ± 2.3 μg/l, mean ± SE, P = 0.26) and the relation of BMI to leptin levels determined by linear regression analysis also did not differ between the two groups. Conclusions. Our results indicate that circulating leptin concentrations in women with PCOS, a condition characterized by hyperandrogenaemia, increased LH concentrations and insulin resistance, are strongly related to BMI and not independently affected by circulating levels of insulin, gonadotrophins or sex hormones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-181
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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