Leptin Levels in Restricting and Purging Anorectics

September 04, 1999

Published By ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders

Patients with anorexia nervosa of the restricting (AN-R) and purging (AN-P) subtypes were studied to determine if there was a differential effect on leptin levels. It was hypothesized that the AN-P subgroup would have elevated leptin compared to the AN-R subgroup. Fasting plasma and anthropormorphic measurements were collected from 8 women with AN-R and 5 with AN-P. Eleven women served as controls.

Overall, the plasma leptin correlated with body mass index (BMI; R = 0.432, p < .05). The AN-P subgroup had elevated leptin compared to the AN-R subgroup (3.8 ± 0.8 vs. 1.5 ± 0.2 ng/ml, p < .05) despite similar BMI (16.0 ±0.5 vs. 14.8 ± 0.8 kg/m2). Additionally, the AN-P subgroup had similar plasma leptins as controls (3.8 ± 0.8 vs. 3.6 ± 0.1) despite different BMI (16.0 ± 0.5 vs. 20.2 ± 0.2, p < .001). Cortisol in the AN-P subgroup trended to be higher than in the restricting anorectics (21.8 ± 3.0 vs. 15.6 ± 1.3, p = .06). In AN, leptin was elevated in AN-P vs. AN. This may be due to increased glucocorticoid stimulation of leptin.

Read the article in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.


  1. Mehler PS, Donahoo WT, Eckel RH. Leptin Levels in Restricting and Purging Anorectics. International Journal of Eating Disorders 26(2):189-194, 1999. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199909)26:2<189::AID-EAT8>3.0.CO;2-V