Human breast milk and adipokines - A potential role for the soluble leptin receptor (sOb-R) in the regulation of infant energy intake and development

Florian D. Zepf, Pradeep Rao, Julia Moore, Richard Stewart, Yuli Martinez Ladino, Benjamin T. Hartmann

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    © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Concentrations of different adipokines in human breast milk are thought to be able to affect energy intake of the infant. Leptin is a hormone synthesized by adipose tissue and the human placenta and favors satiety. The availability of leptin in breast milk is influenced by epithelial cells of the mammary gland that are known to be able to produce leptin, as well as leptin from maternal circulation that is transported to the breast milk, and which can thus in turn reach neonatal blood after absorption. Research so far as mainly focused on leptin concentrations in breast milk. However, evidence suggests that in addition to leptin concentrations levels of the so-called soluble leptin receptor (sOb-R), the main high-affinity binding protein for leptin in humans, are necessary in order to calculate the free leptin index (FLI) and to assess function of the leptin axis. FLI is calculated from the ratio of leptin to the sOb-R, and serves as the main parameter for assessing function of the leptin axis throughout maturation and development. Here we propose that assessing sOb-R levels in addition to leptin concentrations in breast milk could serve as a valuable tool to investigate effects of the leptin axis in breast milk because sOb-R concentrations can impact available leptin levels, and which in turn can have significant implications for infant energy intake and related development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)53-55
    Number of pages3
    JournalMedical Hypotheses
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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