Public Release: 

Low Levels Of The Fat Cell Hormone Leptin In Amenorrhea

Molecular Psychiatry

Low leptin levels predict amenorrhea in underweight and eating disordered females

W Koepp, W Blum, S von Prittwitz, A Ziegler, H Luebbert, G Emons, W Herzog, S Herpertz, H-C Deter, H Remschmidt, J Hebebrand Departments of Psychosomatics and Gynecology, Medical Center Benjamin Franklin, Free University of Berlin; Children's Hospital, University of Giessen; Lilly GmbH, Germany; Departments of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Gynecology, and Medical Biometry, University of Marburg; Department of General Internal and Psychosomatic Medicine, University of Hedelberg, and Clinic of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University of Essen, Germany.

In this article, the authors hypothesized that low leptin levels are associated with the absence of menstruation. They assessed the predictive value of leptin, body mass index, fat mass and percent body fat for lifetime occurrence of amenorrhea. They then examined serum leptin levels in 43 underweight female students. According to this study, a critical leptin level is needed to maintain menstruation. This research has implications for the evaluation and treatment of many physiological and psychological disorders, especially eating disorders.

For further information, please contact the corresponding author, Professor Johannes Hebebrand at the University of Marburg, Germany; e-mail:; Tel.: +49-6421-286466; Fax: +49-6421-283056. The relevance of these findings is independently reviewed in an editorial to be published in the same issue of Molecular Psychiatry by the journal editor, Julio Licinio, M.D.; phone: 301-496-6885; FAX: 301-402-1561;


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