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Leptin levels show diurnal variation throughout puberty in healthy children, and follow a gender-specific pattern

Journal article
Authors Carina Ankarberg-Lindgren
Jovanna Dahlgren
B. Carlsson
Sten Rosberg
L. Carlsson
Kerstin Albertsson-Wikland
Ensio Norjavaara
Published in Eur J Endocrinol
Volume 145
Issue 1
Pages 43-51
Publication year 2001
Published at Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Dept of Paediatrics
Pages 43-51
Language en
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the levels and diurnal rhythm of serum leptin in healthy children, and to investigate the association between leptin levels and sex steroids. METHODS: Four girls and four boys, all healthy volunteers, were followed longitudinally throughout puberty. Their chronological ages ranged from 8.7 to 19.5 years, and body composition, expressed as weight-for-height standard deviation scores (SDS), ranged between -1.7 and +2.4. Serum leptin, oestradiol and testosterone concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay at 1000, 1400, 1800, 2200, 0200 and 0600 h. RESULTS: In all girls and boys, both prepubertally and during pubertal development, serum leptin levels increased during the night, with no difference in relative peak amplitude. In boys, the leptin concentrations increased until the initiation of puberty and then declined, whereas in girls, the concentrations increased throughout puberty. The inter-individual variation in mean leptin levels among girls decreased to 11% at the time of menarche. A positive correlation was found for both oestradiol and testosterone versus leptin in girls throughout puberty (r=0.64 and r=0.71 respectively, P<0.001). A negative correlation was found between leptin and testosterone in boys in mid- and late puberty (r=-0.66, P<0.01). No correlation was found between oestradiol and leptin in boys or between testosterone and leptin in pre- and early pubertal boys. CONCLUSION: Serum leptin concentrations show diurnal variation throughout pubertal development in both girls and boys. The changes in leptin levels during puberty follow a gender-specific pattern, probably due to an influence of sex steroids on leptin production.

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