Association of leptin and hunger-satiety ratings in obese women

A. F. Heini, C. Lara-Castro, K. A. Kirk, R. V. Considine, J. F. Caro, R. L. Weinsier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To measure leptin, insulin and cholecystokinin (CCK) concentrations in obese women on calorie restriction and to determine their correlation with hunger-satiety ratings. Although it has been proposed to play a role in appetite regulation, the effects of physiological concentrations of these hormones on hunger-satiety in humans have not yet been well established. DESIGN: Prospective metabolic study. A two week 'wash-in period' followed by a three-week observation period, during which each subject underwent six measurements of satiety, blood parameters and body weight. SETTING: Energy Metabolism Research Unit, Department of Nutrition Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. SUBJECTS: 22 moderately to severely overweight women (mean age: 45 ± 8 y; body mass index (BMI): 33 ± 6 kg/m2). INTERVENTION: Energy restriction, in the form of a 3.3 MJ (800 kcal) diet during five weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Fasting blood levels of leptin, insulin, glucose and CCK, fasting hunger-satiety scores and body weight. RESULTS: The mean (± s.d.) fasting serum leptin concentration at the beginning of the observation period was 26.1 ± 15.9 ng/ml (range: 6.7-59.8 ng/ml). Leptin concentrations correlated positively with body weight (P < 0.0001). Furthermore, reductions in body weight were associated with decreases in fasting leptin levels (P = 0.002). Leptin concentrations correlated with serum levels of insulin (P = 0.0001) and CCK (P = 0.06), but in multivariate analysis including insulin, CCK and glucose, only leptin had a significant relationship with satiety (P = 0.04). This relationship was linear. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the association between leptin levels, body weight and serum insulin. We also showed that higher serum leptin levels correlated with greater feelings of fullness, a relationship which was not blunted in the more obese subjects. These findings suggest that leptin is a satiety hormone that reduces appetite, even in obese individuals, and that weight gain must be due to other factors, overriding this feed-back regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1084-1087
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Appetite regulation
  • Body weight
  • Cholecystokinin
  • Hormone
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Obesity
  • Satiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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    Heini, A. F., Lara-Castro, C., Kirk, K. A., Considine, R. V., Caro, J. F., & Weinsier, R. L. (1998). Association of leptin and hunger-satiety ratings in obese women. International Journal of Obesity, 22(11), 1084-1087.