Disturbances in leptin metabolism are related to energy imbalance during acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

E.C. Creutzberg*, E.F.M. Wouters, I. Vanderhoven-Augustin, M.A. Dentener, A.M.W.J. Schols

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Previously we reported an impaired energy balance in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) during an acute disease exacerbation, but limited data are available on the underlying mechanisms. Experimental and clinical research supports the hypothesis of involvement of the hormone leptin in body weight and energy balance homeostasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the course of the energy balance in relation to leptin and the soluble tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptors (sTNF-R) 55 and 75, plasma glucose, and serum insulin in patients with severe COPD during the first 7 d of hospitalization for an acute exacerbation (n = 17, 11 men, age mean [SD] 66 [10] yr, FEV1 36 [12] %pred). For reference values of the laboratory parameters, blood was collected from 23 (16 men) healthy, elderly subjects. On admission, the dietary intake/resting energy expenditure (REE) ratio was severely depressed (1.28 [0.57]), but gradually restored until Day 7 (1.65 [0.45], p = 0.005 versus Day 1). Glucose and insulin concentrations were elevated on admission, but on Day 7 only plasma glucose was decreased. The sTNF-Rs were not different from healthy subjects and did not change. Plasma leptin, adjusted for fat mass expressed as percentage of body weight (%FM), was elevated on Day 1 compared with healthy subjects (1.82 [3.85] versus 0.32 [0.72] ng%/ml, p = 0.008), but decreased significantly until Day 7 (1.46 [3.77] ng%/ml, p = 0.015 versus Day 1). On Day 7, sTNF-R55 was, independently of %FM, correlated with the natural logarithm (LN) of leptin (r = 0.65, p = 0.041) and with plasma glucose (r = 0.81, p = 0.015). In addition, the dietary intake/PEE ratio was not only inversely related with LN leptin (-0.74, p = 0.037), but also with sTNF-R55 (r = -0.93, p = 0.001) on day seven. In conclusion, temporary disturbances in the energy balance were seen during an acute exacerbation of COPD, related to increased leptin concentrations as well as to the systemic inflammatory response. Evidence was found that the elevated leptin concentrations were in turn under control of the systemic inflammatory response, and, presumably, the high-dose systemic glucocorticosteroid treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1245
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Issue number4 (Pt 1)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000


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