BOSTON — Women with higher levels of the
appetite-controlling hormone leptin appear to have fewer symptoms of
the relationship between leptin and symptoms of anxiety and depression in 64
women (mean age, 27 years). Fifteen women had anorexia nervosa, 12 were normal
weight and had hypothalamic amenorrhea, 20 were normal weight and in good
health, and 17 were overweight or obese and in good health.
The women answered questions to gauge symptoms of
anxiety and depression; high scores indicated more symptoms. The researchers
also measured leptin levels in the blood and calculated BMI.
They found that higher leptin levels were linked to
decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression. The relationship between leptin
and depression symptoms was independent of BMI. This finding indicates that
leptin may mediate symptoms of depression and that this effect is not a
function of low weight, according to Elizabeth Lawson, MD, from the
Neuroendocrine Clinical Center at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Further research administering leptin to humans
will be important in understanding whether this hormone has a potential role in
the treatment of depression,” Lawson said in a press release.
Disclosure: Dr. Lawson reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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