Do gender and ethnic differences in fasting leptin in Indians and Creoles of Mauritius persist beyond differences in adiposity?
Recent body composition studies on the island of Mauritius in young adults belonging to the two main ethnicities—Indians (South Asian descent) and Creoles (African/Malagasy descent)—have shown gender-specific ethnic differences in their body mass index (BMI)-Fat% relationships. We investigated here whether potential gender and ethnic differences in blood leptin would persist beyond that explained by differences in body composition. In healthy young adult Mauritian Indians and Creoles (79 men and 80 women; BMI range: 15-41 kg m-2), we investigated the relationships between fasted serum leptin with BMI, waist circumference (WC), total fat% assessed by deuterium oxide dilution technique and central adiposity (trunk fat%) assessed by abdominal bioimpedance analysis. The results indicate that the greater elevations in leptin-BMI and leptin-WC regression lines in women compared with men, as well as in Indian men compared with Creole men, are abolished when BMI and WC are replaced by total body fat% and trunk fat%, respectively. In women, no significant between-ethnic difference is observed in total body fat%, trunk fat % and serum leptin. Thus, in young adult Mauritians, a population at high risk for later cardiometabolic diseases, the differences in body fat% entirely accounted for the observed gender and ethnic differences in serum leptin.