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Open Access Original investigation

Leptin is associated with vascular endothelial function in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes

Tomoaki Morioka1*, Masanori Emoto1, Yuko Yamazaki1, Naoya Kawano1, Satoshi Imamura1, Ryutaro Numaguchi1, Hiromi Urata1, Koka Motoyama1, Katsuhito Mori1, Shinya Fukumoto1, Hidenori Koyama2, Tetsuo Shoji3 and Masaaki Inaba1

Author Affiliations

1 Departments of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Molecular Medicine, 1-4-3, Asahi-machi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

2 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Hyogo College of Medicine, 1-1, Mukogawa-cho, Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8501, Japan

3 Department of Geriatrics and Vascular Medicine, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, 1-4-3, Asahi-machi, Abeno-ku, Osaka 545-8585, Japan

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:10  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-10

Published: 10 January 2014



The adipocyte-derived hormone leptin plays a key role in the regulation of appetite and body weight. Recent studies have suggested that leptin is also involved in the pathogenesis of obesity-related atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. In this study, we investigated the association of plasma leptin levels with vascular endothelial function in lean and overweight patients with type 2 diabetes.


One hundred seventy-one type 2 diabetic patients, of which 85 were overweight (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2), were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Plasma leptin concentrations were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the brachial artery was measured to evaluate vascular endothelial function using ultrasound.


No significant difference in FMD was found between the lean and overweight groups (7.0 ± 3.8% and 6.5 ± 3.6%, respectively; p = 0.354). FMD was negatively correlated with age (r = −0.371, p < 0.001) and serum creatinine levels (r = −0.236, p = 0.030), but positively correlated with BMI (r = 0.330, p = 0.002) and plasma leptin levels (r = 0.290, p = 0.007) in the overweight group. FMD was not associated with any parameters in the lean group. Multiple regression analysis including possible atherosclerotic risk factors revealed that the plasma leptin level (β = 0.427, p = 0.013) was independently associated with FMD in the overweight group (R2 = 0.310, p = 0.025), but not the lean group.


Plasma leptin levels are associated with vascular endothelial function in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes.

Leptin; Endothelial function; Overweight; Type 2 diabetes