The hormone leptin regulates appetite to keep body weight in check, but University of Florida research shows leptin may also combat adult-onset diabetes.
Researchers fed lab animals the same kind of high calorie diet that can trigger the production of more insulin and boost the risk of diabetes in humans. Using leptin gene therapy, UF neuroscientist Satya Kalra and his team prevented type two diabetes in the animals.
Kalra: “We were successful in keeping the blood levels of insulin low and at the same time keeping the blood glucose levels at a normal stage. In other words, we were able to correct diabetes in these animals under various challenges.”
Experts say the research could lead to new treatments for people with diabetes, through therapies that mimic the effects of leptin.
Kalra: “Until now there was no evidence that the leptin action in the hypothalamus has a control on insulin secretion. So this is totally unexpected and we’re quite excited about it; that we’re discovering a new site of action of leptin.”
As an extra benefit, the animals receiving leptin therapy lived longer than those who didn’t get it.
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