Leptin-linked gene may play key role in controlling, reversing diabetes

HealthDay (1/5, Dotinga) reported, “A fat hormone known as leptin controls a gene in the liver that’s linked to the dampening of diabetes in animals,” according to a study appearing in Cell Metabolism. Researchers at Rockefeller University were inspired by earlier research revealing that “leptin treatment helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels in mice and humans that don’t have enough leptin in their bodies.”
Initially, the team began “investigating central nervous system pathways by which leptin regulates insulin sensitivity and glucose output from the liver,” according to MedPage Today (1/5, Smith). “Because leptin causes weight loss, which by itself can improve diabetes, they first set out to define the lowest dose that would correct insulin resistance and diabetes without affecting food intake or reducing body weight.” Eventually, “microarray experiments” were conducted “to see which genes in the liver were more active after the leptin doses than before.” The gene that garnered the most attention was IGFBP2.
The researchers explained that “leptin increased IGFBP2 in obese and diabetic mice and reversed their diabetes,” WebMD (1/5, Warner) reported. Investigators also discovered that “mice treated with the fat hormone responded to insulin three times better than untreated mice.”

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