Psoriasis appears to be associated with higher levels of a hormone that may contribute to obesity and metabolic abnormalities, according to findings by researchers in Taiwan (Chen YJ et al. Arch Dermatol. 2008;144:1571-1575).
In the study, which involved 77 patients with psoriasis and 81 age- and sex-matched controls, blood samples were analyzed for levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that plays a role in controlling food intake, body weight, and fat stores, as well as immune and inflammatory processes. After the researchers adjusted for sex, body mass index, and cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension and metabolic syndrome, they found that psoriasis was independently associated with high leptin levels. They also found that high blood levels of leptin in patients with psoriasis were associated with higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome.