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Leptin as an Acute Stress-Related Hormone in the Fetoplacental Circulation

Takahashi, Yuichiro MD, PhD; Yokoyama, Yasuhiro MD, PhD; Kawabata, Ichiro MD, PhD; Iwasa, Shinichi MD, PhD; Tamaya, Teruhiko MD, PhD

Original Research

OBJECTIVE To investigate the relationship between fetoplacental leptin secretion and blood gases.

METHODS We measured the levels of umbilical arterial and venous leptin, umbilical cord gas, umbilical venous blood glucose, and estradiol-17β (E2) in 89 pregnant women. Correlation between the leptin levels and other variables (gestational age, birth weight, maternal body weight, height, body mass index, maternal body weight gain, placental weight, umbilical cord gas data, and levels of umbilical venous blood glucose and E2) were examined statistically.

RESULTS Umbilical arterial and venous leptin levels were 7.64 ± 12.76 and 7.76 ± 13.17 (ng/mL), respectively, correlating positively with carbon dioxide pressure levels (r = 0.446, P < .001; r = 0.406, P < .001, respectively) and correlating inversely with pH (r = −0.337, P = .001; r = −0.247, P = .019, respectively). Umbilical venous glucose, E2, and other factors did not correlate with leptin levels.

CONCLUSION Leptin secretion into the fetoplacental circulation may be associated with fetal hypercapnia, suggesting two important roles for leptin: one for basal control of fetal fat tissue and one as an acute stress-related hormone.

Leptin may be an acute stress-related hormone.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gifu University School of Medicine, Gifu City, Japan; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Iwasa Hospital, Gifu City, Japan.

Address reprint requests to: Yuichiro Takahashi, MD, PhD, Gifu University School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tsukasamachi-40, Gifu City, 500–8705, Japan; E-mail:

The authors express their gratitude to Mr. John Cole for reading our draft and giving us suggestions on language and style.

Received September 10, 2001. Received in revised form March 29, 2002. Accepted April 18, 2002.

© 2002 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.