Open Access Research article

Leptin, insulin and thyroid hormones in a cohort of Egyptian obese Down syndrome children: a comparative study

Sohier Yahia1, Reham M EL-farahaty2, Amany K El-Hawary1*, Mona A El-hussiny2, Hanaa Abdel-maseih2, Faeza El-Dahtory3 and Abdel-Hady El-Gilany4

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University Children Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

2 Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

3 Cytogenetic Lab, Genetic Unit, Children Hospital, Mansoura University Children Hospital, Mansoura, Egypt

4 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt

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BMC Endocrine Disorders 2012, 12:22  doi:10.1186/1472-6823-12-22

Published: 15 October 2012



Obesity is a major worldwide health problem. It is commonly observed in Down syndrome individuals than in the general population. The reason for increased risk of obesity in DS is unclear.

The current study was designed to clarify differences in some obesity- related hormones in a group of prepubertal Down syndrome children.


Thirty six Egyptian children with Down syndrome were enrolled in this study, divided according to their body mass index (BMI) into 23 obese and13 non obese. Another group of 43 non Down children were recruited, they were divided according to their BMI into 20 patients having simple obesity and 23 non obese, as control groups. Fasting blood samples were collected for estimation of fasting blood glucose (FBG), insulin, leptin, free thyroxin (FT4), thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) and creatine kinase (CK). Insulin resistance was assessed by Homeostasis Model Assessment method (HOMA-IR). The ratio of leptin to BMI (LEP/BMI) was used as an index of leptin resistance.


Median values of FBG, insulin, and HOMA-IR were significantly higher in Down versus non Down groups, while median values of leptin and leptin resistance were non-significantly different among Down versus non Down groups. Median TSH values were non- significantly different between obese Down and obese non Down. Although the median values of TSH and FT4 were within normal range in Down groups, four cases of subclinical hypothyroidism were encountered. Leptin levels were correlated with insulin and IR but not with TSH in Down groups.


Increased circulating leptin, a marker of leptin resistance in obese children with Down syndrome seems to be similar to that in children with simple obesity. Elevated FBG and insulin in obese Down children highlights the presence of early IR. Associated myopathy evidenced by mildly elevated CK levels could be an added factor for obesity in such group of patients.

Down syndrome; Obesity; Leptin; Leptin resistance; Insulin resistance