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Leptin-Impaired Obese Mice Not Found to Develop Arthritis

Study suggests that obesity alone may not be a risk factor for joint degeneration

TUESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- In leptin-impaired mice, the resulting extreme obesity does not cause knee osteoarthritis, according to a study published online Sept. 29 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Timothy M. Griffin, Ph.D., of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, and colleagues compared leptin-deficient and leptin receptor-deficient female mice with wild-type mice.

Compared to the control mice, the researchers observed about a 10-fold increase in adiposity in the leptin-impaired mice. Contrary to their expectations, they found no significant group differences in levels of inflammatory markers or the incidence of knee osteoarthritis. However, they found the leptin-impaired mice had reduced subchondral bone thickness and increased relative trabecular bone volume in the tibial epiphysis.

"These results imply that leptin may be involved in the development of osteoarthritis," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "Without leptin, adiposity is insufficient to induce systemic inflammation and knee osteoarthritis, suggesting a potential role for leptin itself in regulating skeletal and immune functions."

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