Serum leptin and soluble leptin receptor in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 14;14(18):2888-93. doi: 10.3748/wjg.14.2888.


Aim: To determine the role of leptin system in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) development by delineating the changes in serum levels of leptin and soluble leptin receptor (sOB-R).

Methods: Blood samples were collected from 30 consecutive patients with liver-biopsy-proven NAFLD and 30 patients with cholecystolithiasis (stationary phase) as controls. Serum leptin levels were determined by radioimmunoassay and concentration of sOB-R was measured by ELISA. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated for all subjects, and serum insulin, C-peptide, and lipoprotein levels were also detected.

Results: Mean serum leptin level and BMI in the NAFLD group were significantly higher than in the controls (both P < 0.001), but mean sOB-R level was lower in the NAFLD group when compared to the controls. Both men and women in the NAFLD group had higher mean serum leptin levels and lower sOB-R levels than did the men and women in the control group (all P < 0.001). There was a significant negative correlation between serum leptin and sOB-R levels (r = -0.725, P < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that the percentage of hepatocyte steatosis, sex, BMI, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA IR) were independently related to serum leptin levels.

Conclusion: Elevated serum leptin seems to be a feature of steatosis, and serum leptin seems to increase as hepatocyte steatosis develops. An enhanced release of leptin is accompanied by an decrease in sOB-R concentration, which suggests higher resistance of peripheral tissues towards the action of leptin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fatty Liver / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / blood
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Leptin / blood*
  • Sex Characteristics


  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Lipoproteins
  • Receptors, Leptin