Background: Disease activity in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is suppressed during pregnancy, whereas attack frequency increases after delivery. It is yet unclear, which immuno - endocrinological processes mediate these disease fluctuations. Leptin has been identified as a hormone that can influence inflammatory activity. Objective: The aim ofthis study was to investigate whether pregnancy-induced fluctuations of serum leptin levels differed between patients with MS and controls and whether serum leptin levels correlate with periods of enhanced and diminished disease activity. Methods: Women with MS and healthy women were prospectively followed during and after pregnancy. The MS group could be studied already at a timepoint before pregnancy. Serum leptin and soluble leptin receptor (SLR) levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: Pre-pregnancy serum leptin levels were (mean ± SD) 22.9 ± 12.8 ng/ml in the MS group. These levels increased in the third trimester to 28.5 ± 15.0 ng/ml (P = 0.007). The third trimester serum leptin levels in healthy women were comparable, 29.4 ± 19.0 ng/ml. Serum leptin levels after delivery dropped to 18.5 ± 12.8 ng/ml in women with MS (P < 0.001) and to a lesser extend (22. ± 17.5 ng/ml) in healthy women (P = 0.04). SLR levels showed the same pattern. Remarkably, women with the highest relative decrease in serum leptin levels after delivery had more often a postpartum relapse (P = 0.008). Conclusion: In women with MS, leptin increased during late pregnancy. A postdelivery drop in leptin levels was observed in both the MS and control group. The postdelivery drop was associated with the occurrence of postpartum relapse.

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Multiple Sclerosis: clinical and laboratory research
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Neuteboom, R., Verbraak, E., Voerman, J., van Meurs, M., Steegers-Theunissen, R., de Groot, C., … Hintzen, R. (2009). Serum leptin levels during pregnancy in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis: clinical and laboratory research, 15(8), 907–912. doi:10.1177/1352458509106515