An analysis of factors determining serum leptin concentration in healthy and infected newborns.

OBJECTIVE: The effect leptin on fetal growth in healthy and infected newborns is not well known. This study is aimed at: 1) evaluating serum leptin concentration in full term and preterm, healthy and infected newborns, according to their gender, birth asphyxia, intrauterine and neonatal infections, and 2) assessing the correlation between serum leptin levels and anthropometric parameters among healthy and infected newborns.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study involved 146 newborns: 73 full-term and 73 preterm, 86 male and 60 female, 56 healthy and 90 infected, aged from 2nd to 4th day of life. Anthropometric parameters, including: birth weight, length, head and chest circumference, and serum leptin concentration were measured in all the subjects. Intrauterine and neonatal infections were diagnosed by the standard criteria.

RESULTS: In this study, it was found that both healthy and infected, but full-term newborns had significantly higher mean leptin concentration than the premature ones (p<0.05). Statistically significant (p<0.05), positive correlations were found between serum leptin level and gestational age, birth weight, head and chest circumference, both in healthy, and in infected newborns.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings of this study suggest that the serum leptin concentration in full term newborns is higher than in the preterm ones, and in females it is higher than in males, 2) among both healthy and infected newborns, there is a positive, linear correlation between the serum leptin concentration and anthropometric parameters, 3) intrauterine and neonatal infections do not have a significant influence on serum leptin concentration. The role of leptin in fetal growth deserves further research.

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