Leptin gene polymorphism is associated with hypertension independent of obesity

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Jun;87(6):2909-12. doi: 10.1210/jcem.87.6.8595.


Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that regulates food intake and energy expenditure. Recent functional studies have suggested a direct effect of leptin on blood pressure. In this study we examined the genetic association of the leptin gene polymorphism with obesity, insulin resistance, and hypertension. A highly polymorphic tetranucleotide repeat polymorphism in the 3'-flanking region of the leptin gene was examined. The alleles of the polymorphism consisted of two groups with different size distributions: a shorter one (class I) and a longer one (class II). The frequency of class I/class I genotype was much higher in hypertensive subjects than in control subjects (13.5% vs. 3.4%; P = 0.0027). No significant difference in body mass index was observed with different genotypes in either patients with hypertension or control subjects. Insulin responses to glucose and insulin sensitivity were not different among patients with different genotypes. The leptin gene polymorphism was associated with hypertension independent of obesity. These data together with recent functional data on the direct effect of leptin on blood pressure suggest that the leptin gene and its product, leptin, are an attractive target for studies on the mechanisms of hypertension and for the development of methods for the prediction, prevention, and therapy for hypertension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alleles
  • Female
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / genetics*
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Leptin / genetics*
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Reference Values


  • Leptin