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Association between circulating leptin levels and multiple sclerosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Xue-Feng Xie1,2,
  2. Xiao-Hui Huang1,
  3. Ai-Zong Shen3,
  4. Jun Li1,
  5. Ye-Huan Sun2
  1. 1 Department of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology, Anhui Institute of Innovative Drugs, School of Pharmacy, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China
  2. 2 Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei, Anhui, China
  3. 3 Department of Pharmacy, Anhui Provincial Hospital, Hefei, Anhui, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Ye-Huan Sun, Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics, School of Public Health, Anhui Medical University, Hefei 230032, China; yehuansun{at}


Aim Leptin, synthesised by adipocytes, has been identified as a hormone that can influence inflammatory activity. Several studies have investigated leptin levels in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), but the results are not consistent. This study aims to derive a more precise evaluation on the relationship between circulating leptin levels and MS.

Design A comprehensive literature searched up to July 2017 was conducted to evaluate the association of circulating leptin levels and MS. The random-effect model was applied to calculate pooled standardised mean difference (SMD) and its 95% CI.

Main outcome measures Circulating leptin levels of patients with MS and healthy controls.

Results Of 2155 studies identified, 33 met eligibility criteria and 9 studies with 645 patients with MS and 586 controls were finally included in the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis revealed that, compared with the healthy control group, the MS group had significantly higher plasma/serum leptin levels, with the SMD of 0.70% and 95% CI (0.24 to 1.15). Subgroup analyses suggested that the leptin levels of patients with MS were associated with region, age, study sample size, measurement type, gender and blood sample type.

Conclusion Overall, our study suggests that patients with MS have a significantly higher leptin level than in healthy controls. Further mechanism studies and longitudinal large cohort studies are still needed to further reveal the role of leptin in the pathogenesis of MS.

  • multiple sclerosis
  • ms
  • leptin
  • meta-analysis
  • evidence-based medicine

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  • Contributors JL and Y-HS designed the study. X-FX and A-ZS collected data and performed the statistical analyses. X-FX and X-HH drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 71503006), and the Key Project of Natural Science of University of Anhui Province (grant number KJ 2015A007).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.