Serum leptin and risk of cognitive decline in elderly italians

Thomas J. Littlejohns, Katarina Kos, William E. Henley, Antonio Cherubini, Luigi Ferrucci, Iain A. Lang, Kenneth M. Langa, David Melzer, David J. Llewellyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate the complex relationship between leptin levels and cognitive decline in elderly Italians. Methods: We studied circulating fasting leptin levels in 809 elderly adults free from dementia who participated in the prospective Italian population-based InCHIANTI study between 1998 and 2009 (mean follow-up of 8.0 years). Global cognitive decline was defined as a reduction of ≥5 points on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Trail-Making Tests A and B were also incorporated, with cognitive decline defined as discontinued testing or the worst 10% of change from baseline. We also investigated whether any association could be explained by midlife weight and whether cognitive decline was associated with changing leptin levels. Results: The multivariate adjusted relative risk ([RR]; 95% confidence interval [CI]) of cognitive decline on the MMSE was 0.84 (95% CI 0.73-0.97) in relation to baseline sex-standardized log-leptin levels. High leptin levels showed a non-significant trend toward a reduced risk of decline on the Trail-Making Tests A (RR = 0.85, 95% CI 0.71-1.02) and B (RR = 0.90, 0.79-1.02). Adjusting for midlife weight or change in weight did not alter the pattern of results, and cognitive decline was not associated with changing leptin levels. Conclusions: High leptin levels were independently associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline in elderly Italians.

Background: US studies suggest that leptin, a fat-derived hormone, may be protective against the development of dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1239
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Adipokines
  • cognitive decline
  • cohort analysis
  • epidemiology
  • leptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Serum leptin and risk of cognitive decline in elderly italians'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this