Obesity Surgery

, Volume 19, Issue 10, pp 1424–1429 | Cite as

Dissociation of Thyrotropin and Leptin Secretion in Acute Surgical Stress in Severely Obese Patients

  • Marina MichalakiEmail author
  • Apostolos G. Vagenakis
  • Marianna Argentou
  • Panagiotis Mylonas
  • Fotis Kalfarentzos
  • Venetsana Kyriazopoulou
Clinical Research



During illness, thyroid parameters undergo acute changes, which are known as non-thyroidal illness syndrome, the cause of which has not been elucidated. In vitro and in vivo data demonstrate that leptin regulates the expression of thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH)—mRNA in the paraventricular nucleus as well as the secretion of thyrotropin (TSH) in response to fasting in humans and animals. Moreover, in healthy adults, TSH and leptin have almost identical circadian rhythms. Our aim was to investigate the secretion of leptin and TSH, and their probable interaction, during the acute stress that is induced by surgery.


We studied 18 severely obese but otherwise healthy men. All participants were admitted to the hospital in the morning after an overnight fast. On the following day, 14 of the participants underwent bariatric surgery at 0900. The remaining four participants did not undergo surgery and served as controls. Serum samples to measure the levels of TSH and leptin were collected from all participants, as follows: upon admission to the hospital (baseline values) and on the following day at 0900 and every 10 min, thereafter for 9 h.


The serum TSH increased during the first hour after skin incision (si) and then decreased gradually throughout the rest of the observation period. In contrast, during the first hour after si, the leptin levels remained unaltered. The leptin levels then decreased and reached a nadir at 4 h and 10 min post si after which they remained constant for approximately 1 h. Thereafter, while TSH continued to decrease, leptin started to increase and reached baseline values at 9 h post si. In control subjects, the TSH and leptin profiles seemed parallel each other.


During acute surgical stress, the secretion of TSH and leptin in severely obese men is asynchronous and causality could not be proven.


TSH Leptin Severe obesity Surgery Non-thyroidal illness syndrome Acute stress 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marina Michalaki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Apostolos G. Vagenakis
    • 1
  • Marianna Argentou
    • 2
  • Panagiotis Mylonas
    • 1
  • Fotis Kalfarentzos
    • 2
  • Venetsana Kyriazopoulou
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineDivision of Endocrinology, University HospitalRion-PatrasGreece
  2. 2.Division of Nutritional Support and Morbid ObesityUniversity Hospital PatrasPatrasGreece

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