The appetite suppressing hormone leptin has several roles. Recent animal studies indicate that leptin might be involved in the development of osteoarthritis.
Excess body weight can produce plenty of complications. This includes the onset of osteoarthritis. This condition involves degenerative changes in the cartilage of joints. It has been widely believed that the knee joints being weight bearing joints are naturally susceptible to the development of osteoarthritis because of the wear and tear involved. But scientists point out that osteoarthritis develops in the hands as well and these are not weight bearing structures. This indicates that factors other than weight must be involved in the development of osteoarthritis. Thus, the origin of osteoarthritis is multifactorial in nature. Of course, a natural cause has always been ageing.
Studies with mice have indicated that the appetite suppressing hormone leptin might have a role to play in the development of osteoarthritis. It is well known that leptin deficiency may lead to obesity. Ultimately leptin levels increase leading to leptin resistance. Mice which became obese and which had practically no leptin showed no signs of osteoarthritis. This suggests that leptin may play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. This is more than likely because leptin has the ability to influence the various factors which are involved in the development of osteoarthritis. These factors are body weight, inflammation, sex hormone levels and bone metabolism.