According to researchers, increased levels of the hormone leptin may explain why obese people seem to be more at risk of blood clotting that causes heart attack and strokes.It is well known that being overweight or obese increases the risk of cardiovascular problems.Now researchers at the University of Michigan are one step closer to understanding why. They have turned the spotlight on the role of the hormone leptin in making the blood clot more easily.
Experiments with mice have shown that leptin-deficient mice have clotting times twice as long as normal mice. And mice with a deficiency in the leptin receptor - a protein necessary for leptin's function - also had longer clotting times. Till now leptin has been seen as a hormone that produces satiety signals in the brain and stops people wanting to eat once they're full. Mice without leptin grow massively fat, but it's been hard to reproduce this finding in humans - so leptin is not about to become a wonder slimming pill.
However, other research in humans has pointed to high leptin levels as a risk factor for stroke and heart attack. The findings suggest that blocking the leptin/leptin receptor interaction might be a useful treatment in cutting the risk of heart disease and stroke among obese people.