Anchor lead: A molecule called leptin has multiple effects in obesity, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Obesity is linked to high blood pressure, which may be difficult to treat in spite of multiple medicines. Now research by Seva Polotsky and colleagues at Johns Hopkins points to differing effects of a hormone called leptin as potential targets. The research identifies effects of leptin inside the brain, beyond a protective wall known as the blood brain barrier, and in a tiny area inside the artery to the brain called the carotid.

Polotsky: Leptin is a very interesting molecule. In a sense how it works below and above the blood brain barrier. It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Above blood brain barrier it’s Dr. Jekyll. If you inject leptin intranasally, it’s like a spray. It actually improves sleep apnea, and suppresses food intake. If you inject leptin blocker, or you block leptin pathway from carotid body, you will normalize blood pressure.  :27

Polotsky notes that an existing drug might help. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.