Obesity hormone linked to psoriasis

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Leptin, a hormone involvd in appetite regulation, was discovered in 1994. Leptin binds to special cells in the appetite centre of the brain where it signals that the body has had enough to eat (satiety). There is some evidence that obese patients have higher levels of leptin than normal weight patients, because they are less sensitive to the appetite suppressant effects of leptin. In this study, researchers studied 77 patients with psoriasis and 81 individuals who were the same age and sex but did not have psoriasis. Patients with psoriasis were found to have higher levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that may contribute to obesity, than individuals who did not have psoriasis.

Comment: This was a well conducted trial which adds to the growing literature on obesity and psoriasis. It suggests that leptin may have a fundamental role in the bodies’ inflammatory response and that this inflammation may be common to obesity, psoriasis and heart disease. Given that weight loss is known to significantly decrease leptin levels and improve insulin sensitivity, these findings underscore the importance of maintaining a normal body weight in patients with psoriasis.

Chen YJ, Wu CY, Shen JL et al. Psoriasis independently associated with hyperleptinemia contributing to metabolic syndrome. Arch Dermatol 2008;144:1571-1575

Article prepared by:
Dr David Ashton MD PhD
27 April 2009