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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2010, Article ID 473540, 9 pages
Clinical Study

Relevance of Serum Leptin and Leptin-Receptor Concentrations in Critically Ill Patients

1Department of Medicine III, RWTH-University Hospital Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2Institute of Clinical Chemistry and Pathobiochemistry, RWTH-University Hospital Aachen, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

Received 10 March 2010; Accepted 4 May 2010

Academic Editor: Oreste Gualillo

Copyright © 2010 Alexander Koch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The adipocyte-derived cytokine leptin was implicated to link inflammation and metabolic alterations. We investigated the potential role of leptin components in critically ill patients, because systemic inflammation, insulin resistance, and hyperglycemia are common features of critical illness. Upon admission to Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU), free leptin and soluble leptin-receptor serum concentrations were determined in 137 critically ill patients (95 with sepsis, 42 without sepsis) and 26 healthy controls. Serum leptin or leptin-receptor did not differ between patients or controls and were independent of sepsis. However, serum leptin was closely associated with obesity and diabetes and clearly correlated with markers of metabolism and liver function. Leptin-receptor was an unfavourable prognostic indicator, associated with mortality during three years follow-up. Our study indicates a functional role of leptin in the pathogenesis of severe illness and emphasizes the impact of complex metabolic alterations on the clinical outcome of critically ill patients.