Obesity-Related Hormone Tied to Psoriasis

Monday, December 15, 2008; 12:00 AM

MONDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- People with psoriasis have higher levels of the obesity-related hormone leptin than those without psoriasis, new research shows.

The Taiwanese study included 77 psoriasis patients and a control group of 81 people without the skin condition.

The researchers gathered health information about the participants and analyzed blood samples for levels of leptin, which helps control food intake, body weight and fat stores. The hormone also plays a role in immune and inflammatory processes.

The psoriasis patients were more likely than those in the control group to be obese, to have high blood pressure, and to have elevated blood glucose levels or diabetes. High blood levels of leptin were found more often in females and in participants who were obese, had high blood pressure, had metabolic syndrome, or had psoriasis.

After the researchers adjusted for sex, body-mass index and cardiovascular risk factors, they concluded that psoriasis was independently associated with high leptin levels (hyperleptinemia). They also found that hyperleptinemia in psoriasis patients was associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome (a set of cardiovascular risk factors that includes high blood pressure and high cholesterol), a finding that links the chronic inflammation of psoriasis with metabolic disturbances.

The high blood levels of leptin in people with psoriasis may come not only from fat tissue but also from inflammation, Dr. Yi-Ju Chen, of the Taichung Veterans General Hospital and National Chung Hsing University, and colleagues, said in a university news release.

"Body weight loss has been reported to significantly decrease leptin levels and improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome and adverse cardiovascular diseases," the researchers concluded. "Body weight loss could potentially become part of the general treatment of psoriasis, especially in patients with obesity."

The study was published in the December issue of the Archives of Dermatology.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about psoriasis.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Dec. 15, 2008

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