Leptin, a hormone that regulates the amount of fat stored in the body, also drives the increase in blood pressure that occurs with weight gain, according to researchers from Monash University and the University of Cambridge.
Being obese or overweight is a major risk factor for the development of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Whilst a number of factors may be involved, the precise explanation for the link between these two conditions has been unclear.
In a study published today in the journal Cell, a research team led by Professor Michael Cowley, Monash University, Australia, in collaboration with Professor Sadaf Farooqi, from the University of Cambridge, UK, studied mice and humans who have problems producing or processing the hormone leptin and compared them with ‘healthy’ individuals to see whether this hormone could provide the link. Leptin is made by fat and circulates in the bloodstream to reach the brain, where it acts as a signal for energy reserves, adjusting both energy expenditure and the sensation of hunger — hence it is sometimes referred to as the ‘satiety hormone’.
The group showed that some obese people who were lacking the hormone leptin because of a genetic disorder had low blood pressure despite being very heavy. This was also the case for people lacking the gene for the leptin receptor in the brain, meaning that the brain was unable to respond to the hormone. Read full article…
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