Effect of obesity on estradiol level, and its relationship to leptin, bone maturation, and bone mineral density in children

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Oct;83(10):3469-75. doi: 10.1210/jcem.83.10.5204.


The purpose of this study was to investigate 24-h estradiol and leptin levels in obese and nonobese children to further understand the roles of estradiol and leptin in obesity and puberty. We measured serum estradiol, leptin, insulin, glucose, and GH levels every hour for 24 h in 18 obese (12 females and 6 males) and 30 nonobese (11 females and 19 males) prepubertal and early pubertal (stages 1-2) children. Bone age and dual energy x-ray absortiometry (DEXA) were obtained upon completion of the 24-h study. Obese children were significantly younger than nonobese children, with no difference in pubertal stage, height, or bone age between the 2 groups. Obese children had greater bone age to chronological age ratios than nonobese children, indicating a more advanced rate of bone maturation. Mean 24-h estradiol levels correlated significantly with chronological age and bone age as well as with insulin-like growth factor I, insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, mean 24-h GH, and lean body mass. Mean 24-h estradiol levels did not differ between obese and nonobese children [1.65+/-1.47 us. 2.75+/-3.30 pmol/L (0.45+/-0.40 vs. 0.75+/-0.90 pg/mL), respectively]. Similar mean 24-h estradiol levels in obese and nonobese children are consistent with the increased bone maturation of the obese children. Estradiol did not correlate significantly with DEXA fat mass, body mass index, or arm fat measures of adiposity. Obese children had higher 24-h mean leptin concentrations than nonobese children (28.6+/-17.4 vs. 6.8+/-7.1 ng/mL; P < 0.001). Leptin concentrations positively correlated with DEXA fat mass, body mass index, and arm fat measurement of adiposity. Girls had higher 24-h mean leptin levels than boys when controlling for adiposity. Estradiol and leptin concentrations fluctuated over a 24-h period in both groups, with all children having higher leptin concentrations at night and higher estradiol concentrations in the morning. This diurnal rhythm was of a similar pattern, but at higher levels for leptin and lower levels for estradiol in the obese children compared to nonobese children. There was no significant correlation between estradiol and leptin levels. Bone mineral density, as measured by DEXA, did not differ between obese and nonobese children. Similar bone mineral density values in obese and nonobese children are consistent with the increased bone maturation of the obese children. Bone mineral density was not correlated with estradiol or leptin level in these children. In conclusion, obese children had similar estradiol levels and equivalent bone ages at a younger chronological age than nonobese children. Leptin was higher in these obese children, but did not correlate with estradiol level or bone age. These findings suggest that the role of leptin in both obesity and pubertal development is not directly correlated with the estradiol level.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Bone Development / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Estradiol / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Reference Values


  • Leptin
  • Proteins
  • Estradiol