Serum leptin levels are independently correlated with two measures of HDL

David L. Rainwater, Anthony G. Comuzzie, John L. VandeBerg, Michael C. Mahaney, John Blangero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Leptin is the peptide product of the OB gene, which is associated with obesity in some strains of mice. Because dyslipidemias are frequently associated with obesity, we have begun to characterize the pathways connecting these related traits. In this investigation we tested for correlation of HDL phenotype measures with leptin concentrations using data from 1159 participants in the San Antonio Family Heart Study, a study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Mexican Americans living in and around San Antonio, Texas. In a subset of 288 unrelated individuals, we tested for correlation of leptin with nine different measures of HDL phenotype and found that only three were significantly related. However, stepwise regression analysis suggested that only two measures, HDL triglyceride concentrations (HDL-TG) and the proportion of apo A-I on HDL particles larger than HDL3 (Large HDL-apo A-I), were independently correlated with leptin. Because obesity and HDL phenotypes are both under strong genetic control, we conducted a trivariate genetic analysis, using the entire data set, to test the hypothesis that the phenotypic correlations were due to the effects of shared genes (i.e., pleiotropy). Heritabilities for the three traits were estimated to be 0.47 for leptin, 0.46 for HDL-TG, and 0.46 for Large HDL-apo A-I. Results from the genetic analyses revealed that the phenotypic correlation of leptin with HDL-TG was nongenetic (i.e., shared environment), while the phenotypic correlation with Large HDL-apo A-I was due to pleiotropy (i.e., shared genes). These results confirmed the result derived from the subset of unrelated individuals that the two measures of HDL are independently correlated with leptin. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a relationship between leptin and any aspect of lipoprotein phenotype. A better understanding of the genes responsible for this relationship may provide a molecular explanation for the aggregation of atherogenic phenotypes, such as diabetes, obesity, and dyslipoproteinemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • GGE
  • HDL
  • Leptin
  • Multivariate genetic analysis
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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