Physical Activity and Restlessness Correlate with Leptin Levels in Patients with Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa
In food-restricted rats, leptin suppresses semistarvation-induced hyperactivity (SIH) and decreases exploratory behavior. Leptin ameliorates anxiety-related movement in ob/ob mice. In this study, we assessed the relationship between leptin and qualities of physical activity and restlessness in acute anorexia nervosa (AN). Serum leptin, body mass index (BMI), % body fat, and self- and expert-ratings of qualities of physical activity and restlessness were assessed in 26 inpatients with acute AN. Accelerometry was also performed. Regression analyses were used to predict activity and restlessness using BMI, % body fat, and leptin levels as predictor variables. Leptin levels significantly contributed to the prediction of all measures of activity and restlessness. This is the first study linking hypoleptinemia in AN patients to subjective and objective measures of higher physical activity and motor and inner restlessness. Leptin may directly or indirectly (or both) influence behaviors and cognitions contributing to hyperactivity and motor restlessness.