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      Low Leptin Levels but Norma Body Mass Indices in Patients with Depression or Schizophrenia

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          Abstract

          Appetite, food intake and weight are frequently altered in psychiatric disorders such as major depression and schizophrenia. The few studies investigating weight and the body mass index (BMI) have yielded variable results. Leptin, a fat cell-derived hormone signalling to the brain the size of the adipose tissue, plays a pivotal role in the regulation of weight and food intake. Moreover, leptin is involved in the control of other behaviors and in brain development. There is almost no information about the amounts of circulating leptin in major depression or schizophrenia. We investigated the BMI and plasma leptin levels in patients with major depression (n = 62), schizophrenia (n = 42), and in healthy controls (n = 64). Mean BMIs did not differ between groups. However, leptin levels were significantly lower in both patient groups compared to healthy controls. Moreover, patients suffering from schizophrenia showed significantly lower leptin levels than depressed patients. Decreased leptin levels were independent of psychotropic medication. We conclude that depression and schizophrenia go along with decreased systemic leptin concentrations that cannot be explained by medication or an altered BMI. Hence, leptin might play an important pathophysiological role in these psychiatric disorders that deserves further scientific attention.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Early onset of reproductive function in normal female mice treated with leptin.

          Numerous studies have revealed an association between nutritional status, adiposity, and reproductive maturity. The role of leptin, a hormone secreted from adipose tissue, in the onset of reproductive function was investigated. Normal prepubertal female mice injected with leptin grew at a slower rate than controls as a result of the hormone's thinning effects, but they reproduced up to 9 days earlier than controls and showed earlier maturation of the reproductive tract. These results suggest that leptin acts as a signal triggering puberty, thus supporting the hypothesis that fat accumulation enhances maturation of the reproductive tract.
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            The rationale for corticotropin-releasing hormone receptor (CRH-R) antagonists to treat depression and anxiety

             F Holsboer (1999)
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              Dose-dependent cortisol-induced increases in plasma leptin concentration in healthy humans.

               G. Selke,  G Vogler,  S Jack (1998)
              Leptin is a hormone that regulates fat metabolism and appetite. The secretion of leptin is regulated by adiposity and, in the rodent, by factors such as insulin, beta-adrenergic agonists, and glucocorticoids (GCs). Increased secretion of the endogenous human GC, cortisol, occurs during stress and in disorders such as major depression. Pharmacological GCs can robustly increase plasma leptin concentrations in humans, leading us to hypothesize that cortisol may serve as a physiological regulator of human leptin secretion. A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled comparison of 2 fixed oral dosages of cortisol (40 mg/d and 160 mg/d), given for 4 days to matched groups of healthy subjects (n=47). Low-dose treatment approximated GC output during mild stress, while high-dose treatment approximated GC output during maximal stress, spanning a range of GC secretion relevant to physiological stress. Cortisol produced dose-dependent and time-dependent increases in plasma leptin concentrations (time x treatment condition x body mass index; F6,123=10.73; P<.001). Initial treatment-induced increases in plasma leptin concentration returned toward baseline values during 4 treatment days, suggesting tolerance to this GC effect in these healthy subjects. The results indicate an important role for GCs in the short-term regulation of human leptin secretion. Glucocorticoid-induced increases in leptin secretion suggest a mechanism that may contribute to anorexia and weight loss during stress and disease states such as major depression, if these conditions are associated with sustained increases in plasma leptin concentrations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NEN
                Neuroendocrinology
                10.1159/issn.0028-3835
                Neuroendocrinology
                S. Karger AG
                0028-3835
                1423-0194
                2001
                April 2001
                24 April 2001
                : 73
                : 4
                : 243-247
                Affiliations
                Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany
                Article
                54641 Neuroendocrinology 2001;73:243–247
                10.1159/000054641
                11340338
                © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 1, References: 33, Pages: 5
                Categories
                Neuroendocrine Correlates of Leptin

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