Reference values for leptin, cortisol, insulin and glucose, among European adolescents and their association with adiposity: the HELENA study

Nutr Hosp. 2014 Nov 1;30(5):1181-90. doi: 10.3305/nh.2014.30.5.7982.

Abstract

Background and objective: Adequate concentrations of leptin, cortisol, and insulin are important for a suitable metabolism and development during adolescence. These hormones jointly with glucose play a major role in fat metabolism and development of childhood obesity. Our main objective was to quantify biomarkers as leptin, cortisol, insulin and glucose status in European adolescents to contribute to establish reference ranges.

Methods: A representative sample of 927 adolescents (45% males, 14.9±1.2 years for the overall population) from ten European cities of the HELENA study was used to obtain fasting blood samples for these biomarkers. The percentile distributions were computed by sex and age and percentiles were associated with BMI classification.

Results: Serum leptin concentration in adolescents varied significantly according to BMI, sex and age (all p < 0.001). Cortisol presented a tendency to increase with age, both for females and males, while insulin and glucose were stable with age. Leptin and insulin were highest in obese adolescents (p < 0.001), whilst cortisol and glucose did not vary with BMI. Percentiles 5, 25, 50, 75 and 95, for hormones values were, respectively: 1.27, 4.06, 11.54, 26.70 and 65.33 ng/ml for leptin; 5.00, 8.11, 11.14, 15.00 and 24.51 μg/dl for cortisol and 3.65, 6.15, 8.52, 11.90 and 20.53 μlU/ml for insulin.

Conclusions: In adolescents, leptin, cortisol, insulin and glucose concentrations are differently affected by age, sex and BMI. Establishment of reference ranges (percentiles) of these biomarkers would be of great interest when pediatricians have to assess the trend of an adolescent to develop obesity years after.

Objetivo: Concentraciones adecuadas de leptina, cortisol e insulina son importantes para un metabolismo normal durante la adolescencia, puesto que valores alterados de estas hormonas, junto con la glucosa, se asocian con el desarrollo de la obesidad infantil. Nuestro principal objetivo fue cuantificar estos marcadores en adolescentes europeos con el fin de establecer rangos de referencia.

Métodos: Muestras de sangre procedentes de 927 adolescentes en ayunas (14,9 ± 1,2 años, 45% varones, estudio HELENA), fueron analizadas para cuantificar la leptina, cortisol, insulina y glucosa. Las distribuciones de percentiles se determinaron teniendo en cuenta el sexo y la edad. También se estudió la asociación entre percentiles y la clasificación del IMC.

Resultados: La concentración de leptina en suero variaba significativamente con el IMC, el sexo y la edad (todos p.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / analysis*
  • Europe
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood*
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Male
  • Reference Values

Substances

  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Hydrocortisone