However, early hopes that leptin could do the same for overweight humans have been dashed, says study author Naveed Sattar, M.D., Ph.D. Overweight and obese people seem to have some sort of resistance to leptin, he explains."This is the first evidence that leptin may be an independent risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease," says Sattar, senior lecturer in endocrinology and metabolism and an honorary consultant in clinical biochemistry at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in Scotland.
appears to be as strong a predictor as some well-recognized risk factors such as high systolic blood pressure or low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol."He
cautions that these results must be confirmed by other studies before recommending routine leptin testing.
is such a brilliant blood marker for body fat for people at any weight and it is not difficult to measure," he
When they looked at risk of cardiovascular events, Sattar's
team found a 25 percent increased risk for every 30 percent rise in leptin levels, an amount identified in the article as one standard deviation.
The researchers report that leptin remained a risk factor independent of body mass index (BMI), a commonly used way to determine if someone is overweight (BMI of 25 or higher) or obese (BMI of 30 or greater).In addition, leptin levels increased along with levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) - a marker for inflammation in the body that is strongly associated with the development of heart disease.However, when the two proteins were studied together, leptin was still a significant marker for heart disease.
Regarding the BMI findings, he
explains that leptin is a better indication of fat mass, since people can have the same body mass index but have different amounts of fat in their bodies.The finding that leptin, a fat protein, is linked to heart disease risk independently from CRP, an inflammation marker, strongly suggests that fat may be important in heart disease risk, says Sattar
may give important information about the development of heart and blood vessel disease," he