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Leptin May Have Advantages Over Insulin in Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

In a mouse model, scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and collaborators, have shown that administration of the hormone leptin may have multiple short- and long-term advantages over insulin monotherapy for type 1 diabetes. The scientist showed that, although the two hormones are similar in certain of their anti-diabetic effects, they differ dramatically with respect to their effects on lipid metabolism: leptin suppresses lipogenesis, whereas insulin monotherapy enhances lipogenesis and factors involved in cholesterologenesis. The researchers said that their findings indicate that recombinant leptin, either alone or combined with low-dose insulin therapy, provides equivalent or superior glycemic stability without the increase in body fat and up-regulation of cholesterologenic and lipogenic transcription factors and enzymes observed with insulin monotherapy. According to the researchers, their results raise the possibility of a role for leptin supplementation in the treatment of human type 1 diabetes. This work was published as the cover story of the March 16, 2010 issue of PNAS. [PNAS article]