Relation between leptin and the metabolic syndrome in elderly women

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2004 Apr;59(4):396-400. doi: 10.1093/gerona/59.4.m396.


Background: Leptin has been shown to be linked to adiposity and insulin resistance in middle-aged participants. However, the association between leptin and metabolic syndrome independently of body fat and body fat distribution has not been evaluated in healthy elderly people.

Methods: We studied the independent relation between leptin and the components of the metabolic syndrome in 107 women aged 67-78 years with body mass index (BMI) ranging from 18.19 to 36.16 kg/m2. In all participants, we evaluated BMI, waist and hip circumferences, body composition by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, fasting, and 2-hour glucose, lipids, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA), systolic (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and leptin.

Results: Significant correlation was found between leptin, BMI, waist circumference, fat mass, DBP, SBP, cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and HOMA. After adjusting for age and waist circumference, as well for age and fat mass, leptin was significantly related to insulin levels, HOMA, and cholesterol. In a stepwise multiple regression analysis using insulin levels or HOMA as dependent variables and age, waist circumference, fat mass, leptin, SBP, DBP, cholesterol, and triglycerides as independent variables, leptin entered the regression first, waist circumference second, and age third.

Conclusion: Our study shows that leptin is significantly related to indices of adiposity in elderly women, and leptin is significantly associated with insulin levels, HOMA, and cholesterol independent of age, body fat, and fat distribution. Leptin, waist circumference, and age together explained 31% and 33% of insulin levels and HOMA variance, respectively, in healthy elderly women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Regression Analysis


  • Insulin
  • Leptin