Leptin, the product of the OB gene, is increased in obese individuals, suggesting resistance to its effect. We questioned whether subjects with NIDDM have an altered regulation of serum leptin levels. We used a radioimmunoassay to measure serum leptin levels in three groups from the San Antonio Heart Study: 1) 50 Mexican-Americans with NIDDM; 2) 50 nondiabetic Mexican-Americans matched by age and sex to the diabetic Mexican-Americans; and 3) 50 nondiabetic Mexican-Americans matched by age, sex, and BMI to the diabetic Mexican-Americans. Leptin concentrations did not differ significantly by diabetic status. Leptin concentrations were significantly correlated with BMI in all groups (NIDDM women: r = 0.637; nondiabetic women: r = 0.772; NIDDM men: r = 0.849; and nondiabetic men: r = 0.686; all P < 0.001). Leptin levels were higher in women than in men regardless of diabetic status. We concluded that the leptin concentrations were not different in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects and that the association of leptin with obesity was similar in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects.

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