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Relationship Between Serum Leptin and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in US Adults

Results From the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Background Recent studies suggest an important role for leptin in respiratory immune responses and pathogenesis of inflammatory respiratory diseases. There has been an interest to explore whether leptin plays any role in the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Objective We conducted a population-based study to evaluate the relationship between serum leptin and COPD in the third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey participants.

Participants and Design Our study group was constituted by 6415 adults who had fasting serum leptin and underwent spirometry measurement.

Main Outcome Measures Serum leptin levels were compared (1) between subjects with normal lung function and those with COPD and (2) among COPD subjects with different severities.

Results Among male participants, 2257 were controls, and 680 had COPD. Compared with controls, COPD subjects were older (62 vs 43 years) and had higher prevalence of smokers (78% vs 58%), lower body mass index (BMI) (26.3 vs 26.9), and higher serum leptin levels (6.6 vs 5.9). For female participants, 2918 were controls, and 560 had COPD. Those with COPD were older (60 vs 43 years) and had lower BMI (26.9 vs 27.7). No differences in serum leptin levels were observed. The independent predictors of COPD in both sexes were age, BMI, and smoking, but not serum leptin. There were no differences in serum leptin among COPD subjects with different severities.

Conclusions We did not find any significant difference in the levels of serum leptin in subjects with COPD. Our data provide indirect evidence against a major role for serum leptin in the pathogenesis of COPD in humans.

Key Words
  • leptin
  • COPD

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