Leptin levels in subjects with android obesity with the insulin resistance syndrome (syndrome X, 5H) are in general elevated, as compared with non-obese subjects and correlate with the BMI, with the percentage of body fat, WHR, IRI levels and sex (they are higher in women), as it is the case in the general population. In the elevated leptin level in syndrome 5H (association of hyperinsulinism, hyperglycaemia-NIDDM, hyperlipoproteinaemia with android obesity, arterial hypertension and hirsutism in females with the polycystic ovaries syndrome) participate in a significant way also elevated basal IRI and cortisol levels as well as an elevated postprandial IRI response during oGTT despite the fact that leptin and endothelin-1 levels do not rise significantly during oGTT despite hyperinsulinaemia. Leptin levels were however higher in men (liminally significant in women) with an hyperinsulinaemic response during oGTT, as compared with probands with a normal insulin response. Optimal insulin and glucocorticoid levels are the prerequisite for a rise of leptin because proadipocytes in vitro begin to produce leptin as soon as insulin is added to the medium and this effect is trebled, if cortisol is added. It appears that the insulin and leptin resistance in syndrome 5H are parallel phenomena which potentiate each other. Elevated insulin and cortisol levels maintain elevated leptin levels which in turn enhances the insulin resistance in muscles and at the same time has an impact on the IRI response to postprandial hyperglycaemia. In the background of this insulin and leptin resistance in the majority of subjects with the 5H syndrome there is apparently no actual molecular defect of the hormone and its receptors in target tissues but a possible defect in mechanisms of postreceptor transduction of the hormonal signal. In the hormonal resistance participate moreover also two general and non-specific mechanisms such as: 1. increased consumption or uptake of hormonal receptors by elevated levels of the appropriate hormone ("down regulation" phenomenon), 2. disorders of paracrine endothelial mechanisms of the vascular wall which determine via the control of the inflow in the regional microcirculation the availability of insulin, leptin and metabolic substrates to target tissues. Impaired vasodilatation reserves and the development of paradoxical vascular spasms in response to stimuli which normally cause vasodilatation (strain, administration of acetylcholine, histamine, ATP etc.) are constant, associated phenomena in hyperlipoproteinaemias, arterial hypertension and in type 2 diabetics. These phenomena are the syndrome of insulin resistance and syndrome 5H-X resp. Endothelin-1 levels assessed in the systemic circulation are however due to their short biological half-life and the paracrine action of endothelin-1 not sensitive markers of endothelial dysfunction in syndrome X.