Objectives: In acute viral hepatitis A (AVH-A), involvement of the liver is through cytotoxic cells and cytokine levels are increased. Immune response of the host determines the severity of the disease. Leptin stimulates cytokines, therefore, the authors hypothesized that the relationship between leptin and cellular immunity might cause different clinical presentations of the disease.
Methods: Twenty-eight children with AVH-A and 10 healthy children formed the basis of the study. Serum leptin, C-reactive protein (CRP) and alpha-1-antitrypsin (A1AT) levels were determined.
Results: There was significant positive correlation between body mass index (BMI) and leptin levels both in patients and controls (p = 0.003 and p = 0.001 respectively). No significant difference in serum leptin, CRP or A1AT levels between patients and controls was detected (p > 0.05). Presence of icterus or fulminant hepatic failure (FHF) did not affect serum leptin level (p > 0.05). Mean A1AT level was significantly higher in children with FHF (p < 0.05). On the 30th day of admission, mean BMI, weight and leptin levels increased (p < 0.01, p < 0.01 and p < 0.05 respectively) and mean A1AT level decreased (p < 0.01).
Conclusion: Leptin levels are not altered in children with AVH-A. In the convalescence period, leptin increased parallel to BMI. It is suggested that expected increment in leptin due to inflammation might be balanced with the decrease due to loss of appetite during acute illness or it might be entirely due to loss of production.