The relationship between obesity and cardiovascular disease is well established and has been extensively reviewed.1-4 The coexistence of obesity and hypertension provides a compelling rationale to examine specific mechanisms that contribute to obesity and evaluate whether these mechanisms explain the relationship between blood pressure (BP) and increased levels of body fat. The discovery of leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone, in 19945 marked the beginning of rapid progress in understanding signals involved in responding to nutritional input, central pathways regulated by these signals, and efferent mechanisms regulated by leptin and these signals. Because human obesity is a disease of elevated leptin levels, the purpose of this review is to examine the evidence testing the hypothesis that increased leptin levels contribute to elevated BP in obesity.
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