Restored Leptin Sensitivity in Lab Mice Produces Normal BG, Increased Activity—Without Need for Weight Loss

Researchers hope that severely overweight people with type 2 will be able to undergo leptin therapy to lower their BG levels and appetite and increases their metabolism and desire to exercise.

Jun 9, 2009

Obese lab mice with severe type 2 diabetes had their blood glucose levels restored to normal and experienced a doubling in physical activity when sensitivity to the hormone leptin was restored to a portion of their hypothalamus.

The dramatic improvements came without any changes in the animals' diets or weight. This means that scientists may have found a way to use the brain itself, rather than diets, conventional weight control measures, or drugs aimed at other organs, to control glucose output and metabolism, as well as increase exercise.

Investigators at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston wanted to see how a big a role in weight and appetite is played by certain neurons in the hypothalamus that are receptive to leptin. Discovered in 1994, leptin is a hormone involved in the central nervous system's regulation of weight and appetite.

One place in the brain where leptin works is an area of the hypothalamus known as the arcuate nucleus. Within this area, two types of neurons receptive to the hormone are agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons. AgRP neurons stimulate appetite, while POMC neurons suppress it.  

While the Boston researchers knew that leptin in the arcuate nucleus had a role in regulating activity levels and blood sugar, they did not know the level of involvement by POMC neurons in either function. To test their hypothesis that POMC neurons play a greater role than expected, they used genetic manipulation to restore leptin sensitivity to a line of severely obese and diabetic mice that were leptin receptor-deficient.

When scientists placed the enhanced receptiveness capability solely in the POMC neurons, the result were dramatic: Blood sugar levels returned to normal nondiabetic levels, and the animals' activity levels spontaneously doubled. Although the mice began eating 30 percent fewer calories and losing modest amounts of weight, the changes in BG and activity levels occurred independent of diet or drugs.

Nobody is sure just how the POMC neurons are able to do what they do. Researchers think that the neurons somehow make the liver produce less glucose and skeletal muscles increase their uptake of it, with both processes leading to lowered BG levels.

These findings hold out that hope that severely overweight people with type 2 will be able to undergo leptin therapy that lowers their BG levels and appetite and increases their metabolism and desire to exercise-all without having to resort to extreme diets or onerous physical fitness routines.

Results of the study were published in the June 2009 issue of Cell Metabolism.

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: Blood Glucose, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes, Health, Health Care, Type 2 Issues, Weight Loss

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only
  • 12th Annual Product Reference Guide
  • Insulin Syringe Chart
  • Insulin Pen Needles Chart
  • Fast-Acting Glucose
  • Sharps Disposal
  • Blood Glucose Meters Chart
  • Insulin Pumps Chart
See the entire table of contents here!

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (3)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 9 June 2009

I was diagnosed with diabetes about 9 years ago. Over the years I have gained a few pounds, I have always been a big guy (280 my heaviest). Since my diagnosis, I have tried to exercise regularly with minimal results and not too long term. A friend had introduced me to a weight loss product that since I have been on it (12 weeks now) have lost 37 pounds! I exercise regularly (it is a part of my everyday routine) and eat a healthy diet. The diet part has always been an issue, never feeling full and ALWAYS snacking. Since I have been taking the product, my hunger and cravings have virtually stopped, which has allowed me to FINALLY lose the weight I had never lost before. I'm close to getting back into the size of jeans I wore before my wedding. The weight loss product I'm taking addresses the brain issue regarding the hormone leptin. I never thought my weight loss/issues had to do with my brain and or hormones. Its amazing to me that I can eat dinner and not want to snack an hour or so afterward (finally). The people who are researching this "leptin" really have something good on their hands! Not to mention I have really backed off of my insulin intake and hopefully soon one day to be switched to just the pill form! My doctor and I are both amazed about how well I've been doing.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2009

Hello Ananymous reader! I would like to know what you have been using since I too have the same symptoms of hunger and constant snacking like you mentioned. Can you direct me to the weight loss product that has worked so well for you? Thank you.

Posted by cherylyvonne on 16 June 2009

?? Name the product Please !

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2015 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.