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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 August;58(4):373-8

language: English

Leptin levels in patients with thalassemia major

Karachaliou F., Vlachopapadopoulou E., Theochari M., Konstandellou E., Michalacos S.

1 Department of Growth and Development “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital Athens, Greece
2 Thalassemia Unit “P. & A. Kyriakou” Children’s Hospital Athens, Greece
3 Department of Microbiology General Hospital of Nikaia, Athens, Greece


Aim. Patients with thalassemia major often present endocrine abnormalities due to dysfunction in their hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Leptin, an adipocyte derived hormone, primarily acts in hypothalamus and its deficiency in the ob/ob mouse results in persistent immaturity of its hypothalamic-pituitary function. The aim of the study was to evaluate leptin levels in thalassemic patients.
Methods. The study involved 33 adult patients (11 males), mean age (SD) 19.3 years (4.4) and a group of 12 prepubertal boys, mean age (SD): 7 years (1.7) with homozygous b-thalassemia.
Results. Mean (SD) leptin concentration was 3.2 (3.3) ng/mL in thalassemic males and 8.6 (3.3) ng/mL in thalassemic females; values significantly lower than matched normal subjects. In the group of prepubertal thalassemic children, leptin levels were also lower compared with matched healthy children, although the difference was not statistically significant.
Conclusions. In conclusion, low leptin levels were observed in thalassemic patients, which may be due to a toxic effect of iron to adipocytes.

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