Leptin is known to regulate food intake and energy expenditure. Since loss of appetite and bodyweight are important signs and symptoms of major depression we studied leptin plasma concentrations in both depressed patients (n = 24) suffering from loss of appetite and a healthy control group (n = 33). To rule out the possibility of inferences with other endocrine parameters known to be changed in depression or suspected to be related to leptin, we also studied cortisol, insulin, growth hormone (GH) and GH-binding protein (GHBP). We found that leptin plasma concentrations did not differ between depressed patients and healthy controls. However, leptin was positively associated with female gender, body mass index (BMI) and morning insulin. 24-hour mean cortisol was not related to leptin. Also, GH and GHBP were not related to leptin when controlled for BMI in an ANCOVA model. We conclude that leptin plasma concentrations are unchanged in depression and that there is no evidence for leptin playing a major role in loss of appetite and body weight in depressed patients.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)