Background and Purpose—
Leptin is a major adipokine that regulates weight balance and energy homeostasis. There is inconsistent evidence linking circulating leptin levels to risk of stroke. We tested the hypothesis that leptin levels are associated with risk of incident stroke in an elderly community based sample.
Serum leptin levels were assayed in 757 stroke free individuals (mean age, 79 years; 62% women) from the Framingham Original Cohort at the 22nd examination cycle (1990–1994). Incidence of all -stroke and ischemic stroke were prospectively ascertained.
During a mean follow up of 10 years, 119 individuals developed stroke (99 ischemic strokes). In multivariable Cox regression models, log leptin levels were not associated with incidence of all -stroke or ischemic stroke (hazard ratios per SD increment in log leptin 0.90 [0.73–1.09] and 0.89 [0.72–1.11], respectively). The results were suggestive for potential effect modification by waist/hip ratio for the association between leptin and stroke (
P=0.03). Adjusting for age, sex, and established stroke risk factors, analysis stratified by waist/hip ratio quartiles revealed a lower incidence of first-ever all-stroke and ischemic stroke associated with higher leptin levels among only subjects in the top waist/hip ratio quartile (hazard ratio, 0.64 [0.43, 0.95] versus 0.98 [0.77, 1.25] for incident all-stroke and 0.61 [0.39, 0.95] versus 0.96 [0.74, 1.26] for ischemic stroke). Conclusions—
Leptin levels were not directly related to the risk of incident stroke overall but there was an inverse association with stroke in the top waist/hip ratio quartile. Further investigations are required to confirm these findings and explore possible mechanisms for the observed association.