The Potential of Leptin Hormone in the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus

Ellafi, Hadil Khaled (2018-06-30)

Leptin is a 167-amino-acid peptide that is mainly expressed in white adipose tissue (WAT), but is also found in a variety of tissues including placenta, mammary gland, ovary, skeletal muscle, stomach, pituitary gland, and lymphoid tissue. Circulating leptin levels are directly in proportion to the amount of body fat, thereby reflecting the status of long-term energy stores. In addition, leptin levels fluctuate according to changes in calorie intake with a marked decrease during starvation. Leptin is secreted in a pulsatile manner, displaying a circadian rhythm with lowest levels at mid-afternoon and highest levels at midnight. Leptin plays an important role in regulating energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine and immune functions, and glucose, lipid and bone metabolism


Leptin is a hormone secreted by adipose tissue and regulates energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine function, metabolism, immune function and other systems through its effects on the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. Although its award-winning discovery transformed the study of obesity more than 20 years ago, leptin's mechanisms have remained a mystery. Secreted by white fat cells, leptin acts in the brains of humans and many other animals as a satiety signal to reduce appetite and maintain stable weight and blood sugar levels. Dysregulation of leptin or its receptors results in ravenous appetite and extreme overeating (hyperphagia), obesity, and type 2 diabetes (which accounts for approximately 91% of diabetes diagnosed in adults in the U.S., affecting about 21 million people). Leptin supplements are generally ineffective for these disorders because, for unknown reasons, most obese individuals are leptin-resistant, and leptin's clinical applications remain limited despite extensive study. Due to its connection with insulin levels, Leptin has been a subject of particular interest with diabetes and cardiovascular pathology research. This review discusses the different theories on how leptin hormone can be a potential anti-diabetic treatment in both types of Diabetes Mellitus

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