Sparse System Identification of Leptin Dynamics in Women With Obesity

Md Rafiul Amin, Divesh Deepak Pednekar, Hamid Fekri Azgomi, Herman van Wietmarschen, Kirstin Aschbacher, Rose T. Faghih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of obesity is increasing around the world at an alarming rate. The interplay of the hormone leptin with the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis plays an important role in regulating energy balance, thereby contributing to obesity. This study presents a mathematical model, which describes hormonal behavior leading to an energy abnormal equilibrium that contributes to obesity. To this end, we analyze the behavior of two neuroendocrine hormones, leptin and cortisol, in a cohort of women with obesity, with simplified minimal state-space modeling. Using a system theoretic approach, coordinate descent method, and sparse recovery, we deconvolved the serum leptin-cortisol levels. Accordingly, we estimate the secretion patterns, timings, amplitudes, number of underlying pulses, infusion, and clearance rates of hormones in eighteen premenopausal women with obesity. Our results show that minimal state-space model was able to successfully capture the leptin and cortisol sparse dynamics with the multiple correlation coefficients greater than 0.83 and 0.87, respectively. Furthermore, the Granger causality test demonstrated a negative prospective predictive relationship between leptin and cortisol, 14 of 18 women. These results indicate that increases in cortisol are prospectively associated with reductions in leptin and vice versa, suggesting a bidirectional negative inhibitory relationship. As dysregulation of leptin may result in an abnormality in satiety and thereby associated to obesity, the investigation of leptin-cortisol sparse dynamics may offer a better diagnostic methodology to improve better treatments plans for individuals with obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number769951
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
StatePublished - Apr 5 2022


  • correlation
  • cortisol
  • deconvolution
  • grange-causality
  • leptin
  • obesity
  • sparse recovery
  • state-space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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