Leptin in septic arthritis: decreased levels during infection and amelioration of disease activity upon its administration

Arthritis Res. 2001;3(6):389-94. doi: 10.1186/ar332. Epub 2001 Sep 19.


Weight loss is typically found during severe infections, e.g. septic arthritis. The aim of our study was to evaluate the role of leptin, regulator of food intake and energy expenditure, for the development of Staphylococcus aureus-triggered arthritis. Leptin production was found to be decreased during murine S. aureus-induced arthritis. Treatment with recombinant leptin neither restored the basal leptin levels nor affected the weight loss during the disease, but it significantly decreased the severity of septic arthritis. Exogenous leptin did not affect the staphylococcal load as measured in blood, joints and kidneys. Preceding the effects on joint manifestations, serum levels of interleukin-6 decreased in leptin-treated mice. In conclusion, the treatment with recombinant leptin reduced both the severity of joint manifestations in S.aureus-induced arthritis and the inflammatory response, as measured by serum IL-6 levels, without affecting the survival of bacteria in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Infectious / blood*
  • Arthritis, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Infectious / mortality
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Weight Loss


  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin