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It is known that the low ambient temperature causes a considerable increase of appetite. The mechanisms underlying the changes of the amounts of the ingested food in relation to the environmental temperature has not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the short exposure to low ambient temperature on the plasma concentration of leptin and cholecystokinin.
Sixteen healthy men, mean age 24.6 ± 3.5 years, BMI 22.3 ± 2.3 kg/m2, participated in the study. The concentrations of plasma CCK and leptin were determined twice – before and after the 30 min. exposure to + 4 °C by using RIA kits.
The mean value of CCK concentration before the exposure to low ambient temperature was 1.1 pmol/l, and after the exposure 0.6 pmol/l (p<0.0005 in the paired t-test). The mean values of leptin before exposure (4.7 ± 1.54 μg/l) were also significantly lower than after the exposure (6.4 ± 1.7 μg/l; p<0.0005 in the paired t-test). However no significant correlation was found between CCK and leptin concentrations, both before and after exposure to low temperature.
It has been known that a fall in the concentration of CCK elicits hunger and causes an increase in feeding activity. Also fall of leptin concentration may be one of the factors responsible for the enhancement of appetite. It has been concluded on the basis of this study that CCK and leptin participates in the short-term regulation of energy balance following exposure to low temperature by potentiating the feeling of hunger.