Background: In animals, the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin induces increased blood pressure centrally via the hypothalamus, and one study has reported that exercise training decreases hypothalamic leptin receptor expression. In humans, high circulating leptin concentrations are associated with high blood pressure, but the possible influence of physical activity or aerobic capacity on this association is unknown. Methods: Forty-two healthy women, 25-40 years of age, with diverse ranges of body fatness and aerobic capacities, were studied under basal resting conditions. Blood pressure (sphygmomanometry), arterial stiffness (pulse wave velocity (PWV)), percent body fat (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), circulating concentrations of leptin, soluble leptin receptor (sLR) (enzyme-linked immunoassay), and nitric oxide (Griess reaction) were measured. Results: Serum leptin correlated with percent body fat (R2 = 0.74, P < 0.0001) but was not significantly associated with aerobic capacity. Blood pressure correlated positively with serum leptin concentrations and had a negative interaction with aerobic capacity for both systolic (overall model: R2 = 0.33, P = 0.002) and diastolic (R2 = 0.48, P < 0.0001) pressure. The relation between leptin and blood pressure was attributable solely to women with below-median aerobic capacity even though their body fat percentages and leptin concentrations were similar to those of women above the median. The results could not be attributed to differences in peripheral factors such as sLR or nitric oxide concentrations or to differences in arterial stiffness determined by aortic PWV. Conclusions: Circulating leptin concentrations are related to body fatness, but the hypertensive influence of leptin is modified by physical fitness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine