Serum leptin levels as a marker for a syndrome X-like condition in wild baboons

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Mar;88(3):1234-40. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-021695.


We measured serum leptin levels in two groupings of wild male baboons, one with access to abundant quantities of food from gardens and garbage dumps near human habitations (Garbage; n = 11) and one without access (No Garbage; n = 10). A Garbage subgroup had high leptin levels (Garbage HL), whereas the rest of the Garbage group had low leptin levels (Garbage LL) similar to those in the No Garbage group. The Garbage HL individuals were obese, with higher mass, body mass index, and leptin to mass ratios; were insulin to resistant, with elevations in serum insulin, glucose, and insulin to glucose ratios; and were hyperlipidemic. This syndrome X-like condition occurred only in the Garbage HL subset. The Garbage LL subset did not differ from the No Garbage individuals in mass, body mass index, leptin to mass ratio, insulin, glucose, or insulin to glucose ratios. The highest cholesterol levels, however, occurred in the Garbage LL individuals, suggesting that susceptibility to hyperlipidemia is distinguishable from susceptibility to obesity and insulin resistance. The differences were not explained by age or social status. These results show that a subgroup of wild baboons is susceptible to developing obesity and insulin resistance and that this susceptibility is not related to age or social rank.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Microvascular Angina / blood
  • Microvascular Angina / etiology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Papio


  • Biomarkers
  • Leptin