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Leptin and inflammatory cytokines in women with pre-eclampsia

Recent research shows that in women with pre-eclampsia, the level of maternal serum leptin is increased and correlates positively with the level of inflammatory cytokines, TNF-á//.

The research was conducted at University Hospital of Puerto Real, Cadiz, Spain to compare maternal serum leptin concentration in women with pre-eclampsia and women with normal pregnancy, and to evaluate the relationships between leptin and several inflammatory cytokines.

The study appears in the December issue of British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Leptin is a hormone that regulates metabolic efficiency, energy expenditure, and food intake. It is mainly produced in adipose cells, but in humans, m-RNA encoding leptin is also present in the placenta.

Pre-eclampsia is associated with an increase in maternal plasma leptin concentration, and it has been demonstrated that placental production of leptin is augmented in women with severe pre-eclampsia

Twenty-seven women with pre-eclampsia and 25 normotensive pregnant women were enrolled for the study. Maternal serum levels of TNF-á, TGF-a1, interleukin 6, and leptin were measured using a commercially available immunoassay.

The authors conclude that the level of maternal serum leptin is increased and correlates positively with the level of TNF-á in women with pre-eclampsia. In women with a normal pregnancy leptin levels not only correlate with TNF-á, but also with IL-6 and body mass inde.

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