Umbilical cord and maternal blood leptin concentrations in intrauterine growth retardation.Clin Chem Lab Med 2002; 40(11):1114-7CC
Leptin, the ob gene product, plays an important role in the regulation of body fat mass and weight. In previous studies, it was demonstrated that leptin is detectable in human fetal cord blood as early as at 18 weeks of gestation and that serum leptin concentrations are significantly reduced in small gestational age newborns. In the present study, we investigated whether umbilical and maternal serum leptin concentrations correlate with intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR). In addition, we aimed to determine the relationships between leptin concentration in the maternal and cord blood. We studied 40 newborn infants (21 female and 19 male; gestational age, 38-42 weeks) and their mothers. Of the infants studied, 10 had IUGR. Serum leptin concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. All newborns had detectable leptin concentrations. Leptin concentrations were significantly lower in newborns with IUGR and in their mothers (n = 10; 3.53 +/- 1.42 ng/ml, 6.75 +/- 1.47 ng/ml, respectively) than in infants experiencing normal growth and their mothers (n = 30; 5.58 +/- 2.98 ng/ml, 9.85 +/- 6.50 ng/ml, respectively) (p < 0.01 for newborns, p < 0.05 for mothers). There was no significant correlation between umbilical leptin concentration and maternal leptin concentration (r = 0.229; p = 0.155) in all study groups but, significantly, a correlation was observed in the group with IUGR (r = 0.736; p = 0.015). There were no significant correlations between both umbilical and maternal leptin concentrations and parity, delivery type and gestational age. There was a correlation between umbilical leptin concentration and birth weight of newborns (r = 0.383; p = 0.015) but no correlation with body mass index (BMI) of the newborns (r = 0.034; p = 0.834). Maternal leptin concentrations correlated with maternal weight and BMI (r=0.606; p=0.000, r=0.535; p=0.000, respectively). There was no correlation between maternal leptin concentrations and birth weight of the newborns (r=0.179; p=0.269) and with BMI of the newborns (r = 0.146; p = 0.367). There was no gender difference in leptin concentrations in the newborns (n=21; 5.50 +/- 3.37 ng/ml, for females; n = 19; 4.58 +/- 1.98 ng/ml for males) (p = 0.296). In summary, we have shown that IUGR is associated with a decreased leptin concentration in newborns and their mothers. The association between umbilical serum leptin and birth weight in this and other studies suggests a pivotal role of fetal leptin in regulating fetal growth and development.