Increased meal size, but reduced meal-stimulated plasma cholecystokinin concentrations in women with obesity

Nori Geary, Lori Asarian*, Gwendolyn Graf, Susanna Gobbi, Philippe N Tobler, Jens F Rehfeld, Brigitte Leeners

*Corresponding author for this work


To better understand the physiological basis of obesity in women, we investigated whether obesity or menstrual cycle phase affects laboratory test-meal size or meal-stimulated plasma cholecystokinin (CCK) concentration. Women with healthy weight (body mass index [BMI] of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2, N = 16) or obesity (BMI 30-39.9 kg/m2, N = 20) were tested once in the late-follicular or peri-ovulatory phase (LF/PO) and once in the mid-luteal phase (ML). Meals of ham sandwiches were offered and blood was sampled. Menstrual cycle phases were verified with participants' reports of menses and measurements of progesterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) concentrations. Women with obesity ate significantly larger meals than women with healthy weight, (mean, 711 [95% CI, 402-1013] kJ, P = 0.001, during the LF/PO and 426 [105-734] kJ, P = 0.027, larger during the ML). Women with healthy weight ate smaller meals during LF/PO than ML (decrease, 510 [192-821 kJ], P = 0.008), but women with obesity did not (decrease, 226 [-87-542] kJ, P = 0.15). CCK concentrations 18 to 30 minutes after meal onset were lower in women with obesity than in women with healthy weight during LF/PO (3.6 [3.1-4.1] vs 6.1 [4.5-7.7] pmol/L; P = 0.004), but not during ML, with a significant interaction effect (1.8 [1.2-2.4] pmol/L, P = 0.048). Women with obesity consumed larger meals than women with healthy weight but displayed reduced meal-stimulated plasma CCK concentrations. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that a defect in CCK secretion compromises satiation in obese women and contributes to the development or maintenance of obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberbqac192
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholecystokinin/blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meals/physiology
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Obesity/blood


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