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Menopause:
doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000117
Review Article

Is there evidence that estrogen therapy promotes weight maintenance via effects on leptin?

Springer, Alyse M. BS1; Foster-Schubert, Karen MD2; Morton, Gregory J. PhD3; Schur, Ellen A. MD, MS1,4

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Abstract

Objective

Leptin, a hormone secreted by adipocytes, plays a crucial role in regulating energy balance. Estrogen, like leptin, reduces food intake and adiposity while increasing energy expenditure in animals and humans of both sexes through its actions on the central nervous system. We reviewed the literature for studies of the effects of exogenously administered estrogen on serum leptin concentrations and adiposity in women.

Methods

Using PubMed/Medline, we searched for studies of hormone therapy that enrolled healthy postmenopausal women. Studies were further evaluated to determine if leptin and adiposity were monitored both at baseline and throughout a treatment period of at least 2 months.

Results

Twenty articles met inclusion criteria. We found no consistent effects of exogenous estrogen on serum leptin concentrations, adiposity, or weight gain.

Conclusions

Despite suggestive data from animal studies, the current literature does not provide compelling evidence that estrogen therapy attenuates weight gain, alters circulating leptin levels, or improves leptin action in postmenopausal women.

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society

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