Clinical endocrinology of human leptin

Luc F. Van Gaal, M. A. Wauters, I. L. Mertens, R. V. Considine, I. H. De Leeuw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Scopus citations


Since the discovery of leptin, a boom of scientific knowledge became available about the OB-protein gene and its role and significance in weight regulation. Both from animal and human research data, serum leptin can probably be considered as one of the best biological markers to reflect total body fat, and this finding is true over a wide range of body mass indexes (BMIs) and in different pathologies: in normal weight, anorexic and obese subjects; in non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) patients, PCO women, Prader-Willi children and subjects with hypogonadism and growth hormone deficiency. Gender differences clearly exist, probably related to sex hormone differences, and from fat distribution studies it could be shown that subcutaneous fat is much more related to serum leptin concentrations than visceral fat: also leptin messenger-RNA (m-RNA) expression is significantly higher in subcutaneous fat from human obese subjects. Leptin is not only correlated to a series of endocrine parameters such as insulin, insulin-like growth factor, (IGF) and SHBG, it seems involved as a mediator in some endocrine mechanisms (onset of puberty, insulin secretion, etc) as well. Weight loss will reduce human leptin concentrations, whereas the administration of human recombinant leptin seems to show only limited effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
StatePublished - Feb 1 1999


  • Body fat distribution
  • Endocrinology
  • Hormones
  • Leptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Endocrinology
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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    Van Gaal, L. F., Wauters, M. A., Mertens, I. L., Considine, R. V., & De Leeuw, I. H. (1999). Clinical endocrinology of human leptin. International Journal of Obesity, 23, 29-36.