Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is a primary immunodeficiency characterized by hypogammaglobulinemia. Leptin has been implicated as an antiapoptotic compound as well as a stimulant of the immune response. Leptin administration is capable of reversing the immune deficiency that occurs upon starvation. We investigated a possible role for leptin in CVID; a condition associated with lowered plasma leptin levels. Thirty-eight patients were studied. Addition of leptin to the tissue culture media of PBMC from CVID patients increased the proliferative response of lymphocytes to mitogens and decreased activation-induced apoptosis of these cells. IL-2 and specially IL-4 production also increased significantly upon addition of leptin to the PBMC cultures. Our results suggest that leptin may be involved in some of the cellular defects observed in CVID and indicate a novel therapeutic strategy to improve immune function in these patients.