Decreased plasma leptin concentrations in tuberculosis patients are associated with wasting and inflammation

R. van Crevel, E. Karyadi, M.G. Netea, H. Verhoef, R.H.H. Nelwan, C.E. West, J.W.M. van der Meer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Tuberculosis patients often suffer from severe weight loss, which is considered to be immunosuppressive and a major determinant of severity and outcome of disease. Because leptin is involved in weight regulation and cellular immunity, its possible role in tuberculosis-associated wasting was investigated. In an urban clinic in Indonesia, plasma leptin concentrations, indicators of adipocyte mass, appetite, C-reactive protein (CRP), tuberculin reactivity, and cytokine response were measured in tuberculosis patients and healthy controls. Plasma leptin concentrations were lower in patients than in controls (615 vs. 2,550 ng/liter; P < 0.001). Multivariate regression analysis showed that body fat mass and inflammation were two independent factors determining plasma leptin concentrations; there was a positive correlation between fat and leptin, whereas, unexpectedly, leptin was inversely associated with CRP and tumor necrosis factor- production. Concentrations of both CRP and leptin were independently associated with loss of appetite. Our results do not support the concept that weight loss in tuberculosis is caused by enhanced production of leptin. Rather, loss of body fat leads to low plasma leptin concentrations, and prolonged inflammation may further suppress leptin production. Because leptin is important for cell-mediated immunity, low leptin production during active tuberculosis may contribute to increased disease severity, especially in cachectic patients
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-763
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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