According to a new research, high levels of a hormone called Leptin, produced by fat cells, could increase the risk for potentially lethal blood clots. Researchers at the University of Hopkins said obese people have a tendency to develop dangerous blood clots, but the relationship between obesity and clotting risk is not well understood.
To find the reason, scientists led by Dr. Daniel T. Eitzman, a cardiologist and assistant professor of internal medicine, studied varying leptin levels in mice. Eitzman looked at a group of overweight mice that were genetically engineered to lack the gene needed to produce leptin. He found they took an average of 70 minutes to clot, almost twice as long as normal mice who clotted at 40 minutes.
Blood clotting capabilities were tested on another group of mice missing the gene for the leptin receptor, which also made them leptin deficient. Like the first group of mice, the second group also took a long time to clot, about 60 minutes. When they injected leptin into the mice, however, clotting times dropped to normal, around 40 minutes.
The findings are published in the April 3 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association. Leptin is released by fat cells and signals the body to stop eating. But this system can break down in overweight people, Eitzman explained. Leptin levels can get too high among obese individuals and when that happens, the person can become resistant to leptin's signals, making them more vulnerable to the hormone's effect on blood-clotting.