Race/ethnicity-specific associations between smoking, serum leptin, and abdominal fat: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis

Sina Kianoush, Andrew P. DeFilippis, Carlos J. Rodriguez, Mahmoud Al Rifai, Emelia J. Benjamin, Michael E. Hall, Pamela Ouyang, Matthew A. Allison, Michael J. Blaha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Smoking is a well-known cardiovascular risk factor associated with weight loss. We aimed to evaluate the association between smoking, serum leptin levels, and abdominal fat. Design: Cross-sectional Setting: Data from examinations 2 or 3 (2002-2005) of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Participants: 1,875 asymptomatic, community-dwelling adults Main Outcomes Measures: We used multivariable linear regression models to assess the race/ethnicity-specific associations between smoking, serum loge-leptin levels, and computed tomography ascertained abdominal fat. Results were adjusted for demographic and relevant clinical covariates. Results: Participants (mean age 64.5±9.6 years; 50.6% women; 42.2% former, 11.4% current smokers) were White (40.1%), Hispanic (25.8%), African American (21.1%), and Chinese (13.0%). Overall, median (25th - 75th percentile) leptin levels were significantly lower among current (11.14 ng/mL; 4.13 - 26.18) and former smokers (11.68 ng/mL; 4.72 - 27.57), as compared with never smokers (15.61 ng/mL; 3.05 - 30.12) (P<.001). The difference in median leptin levels between current and never smokers were significantly higher for Hispanics (Δ9.64 ng/mL) and African Americans (Δ8.81 ng/mL) than Whites (Δ2.10 ng/mL) and Chinese (Δ4.70 ng/mL) (P<.001). After adjustment for total abdominal fat, loge-leptin levels remained lower for former (-.14 [-.22 - -.07]) and current (-.17 [-.28 - -.05]) smokers, compared with never smokers. Results differed by race/ethnicity, with significantly lower loge-leptin levels observed only among current and former African Americans and Hispanic smokers, compared with their never smoker counterparts. (Ps for interaction <.05) Conclusions: Among smokers, leptin levels significantly vary by race/ethnicity. Former and current smoking are associated with lower leptin levels, although this may be restricted to Hispanics and African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Abdominal Fat
  • Adipokines
  • Body Weight
  • Leptin
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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