Among neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a leading cause of death in elderly individuals. AD is characterized, among other clinical findings, by unexplained weight loss, cachexia and altered immune function. To explore whether any relationship between gender and circulating levels of several eating-controlling metabolites exist, we evaluated leptin, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, triiodothyronine (T3), free (F) thyroxine (T4), TSH, PRL, insulin (INS), and cortisol in 15 AD-treated patients (age range 55–82 years): 9 postmenopausal females (without hormone replacement therapy) and 6 males. The results (mean ± SEM) indicated that circulating leptin levels were significantly (p < 0.05) higher in female AD (40.34 ± 11.1 ng/ml) than in male AD (6.07 ± 1.39 ng/ml) patients. The difference found in circulating leptin levels was noticed regardless of BMI (26.75 ± 1.77 and 24.55 ± 1.93 kg/m2, in females and males, respectively) and waist:hip ratios (0.91 ± 0.03 and 0.94 ± 0.02, in females and males, respectively). Moreover, serum TNF-α concentrations were also significantly (p < 0.02) higher in AD females (12.24 ± 1.47 pg/ml) than in AD males (6.62 ± 1.44 pg/ml), regardless of TNF-α:BMI ratios (0.50 ± 0.09 and 0.28 ± 0.08, in females and males, respectively; p > 0.05). Finally, no differences were observed between gender (in female and male AD patients, respectively) in circulating levels of T3 (151.33 ± 9.91 vs. 116 ± 17.04 ng/dl), FT4 (1.26 ± 0.08 vs. 1.24 ± 0.06 ng/dl), TSH (1.28 ± 0.16 vs. 2.46 ± 0.67 µIU/ml), PRL (10.53 ± 2.47 vs. 12.61 ± 2.37 ng/ml), INS (11.76 ± 1.95 vs. 8.59 ± 1.34 µIU/ml) and cortisol (15.71 ± 1.23 vs. 12.63 ± 1.47 µg/dl). These results indicate that our AD group of patients, with normal corticoadrenal and thyroid functions and normoprolactinemia, displayed a gender-related characteristic in the circulating levels of two very important anorectic signals, leptin and TNF-α, being both higher in female than in male AD patients, regardless of BMI. Our study suggests that increased circulating levels of both anorexigenic adipokines may contribute to the metabolic changes observed in AD females.

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