Relationships between serum leptin levels and bone mineral parameters in school-aged children: a 3-year follow-up study


Leptin regulates bone cell differentiation and functions via direct and indirect actions in experimental settings. Epidemiologically, however, the impact of leptin on the regulation of bone metabolism remains unclear. While some studies have reported a positive relationship between leptin and bone mineral parameters, other studies found an inverse or no association. We analyzed data from a population-based follow-up survey of community-dwelling children in Hamamatsu, Japan, to investigate relationships between leptin levels and bone mineral parameters. Multiple regression analysis was performed. Multicollinearity was quantified using the variance infiltration factor (VIF). Among 408 children who participated in the baseline survey (at age 11.2 years), 254 (121 boys and 133 girls) completed the follow-up survey (at age 14.2 years). Leptin levels were strongly related to fat mass (r = 0.87 in boys, r = 0.80 in girls). Leptin levels at baseline were significantly (P < 0.05) positively related to total body less head (TBLH) areal bone mineral density (aBMD) at follow-up in girls (standardized partial regression coefficient: β = 0.302, VIF = 2.246), after adjusting for body fat percentage (%). On the other hand, leptin levels were inversely related to TBLH aBMD in boys (β = − 0.395, VIF = 4.116), after adjusting for body fat mass (kg). Positive relationships between leptin levels and bone mineral parameters were observed with VIF values < 4.0, whereas inverse relationships were observed with VIF values ≥ 4.0. These findings suggest that positive relationships between leptin levels and bone mineral parameters are weak, or not always observed, due to statistical problems (i.e., multicollinearity) and other factors derived from adipose tissue.

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The authors thank the teaching staff of Aritama Elementary School, Sekishi Elementary School, Sekishi Junior High School, and Dr. Toshiko Okamoto for their support. This work was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI Grant Numbers 21657068, 22370092, 24370101, and 26291100) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The funding bodies had no role in designing the study, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data, writing the manuscript, or deciding where to submit the manuscript for publication.

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Correspondence to Katsuyasu Kouda.

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Kouda, K., Ohara, K., Fujita, Y. et al. Relationships between serum leptin levels and bone mineral parameters in school-aged children: a 3-year follow-up study. J Bone Miner Metab 37, 152–160 (2019).

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  • Adipokines
  • Child
  • Densitometry
  • General population