Most recent update: Friday, September 21, 2018 - 15:00

Bariatric News - Cookies & privacy policy

You are here

Leptin and overeating

Study claims leptin is not the cause of overeating

The results study show that a change is needed about how to use leptin as a potential target for therapy to treat obesity

Research led by investigators at the University of Cincinnati (UC) Metabolic Diseases Institute have reported that leptin resistance does not cause obesity. The study, ‘Diet-Induced Obese Mice Retain Endogenous Leptin Action’, published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that hyperleptinemic diet-induced obese mice retain leptin suppression of feeding comparable to lean mice, which counters the view that resistance to endogenous leptin contributes to the persistence of diet-induced obese in mice. Leptin is a hormone that plays a role in appetite and weight control. It is produced when people are well fed and it signals to the brain that there is ample energy and therefore reduces eating. It has been a hormone of interest since 1994 when scientists discovered that a particular strain of obese mouse could not produce leptin at all. However, when they treated the mouse with leptin it stopped eating so much and started losing weight.

"Restoring leptin action will not be effective at reducing obesity because leptin action is normal as opposed to being impaired in obesity," said assistant professor Diego Perez-Tilve, who directed the study. He commented that scientists were initially puzzled because obese persons have leptin levels far higher than persons of average weight. They theorised that the body was making extra leptin to combat obesity and that the obese patients must therefore need more leptin than persons of average weight to signal the brain to stop eating.

However, in human preclinical trials, "giving obese patients more leptin didn't work ... they ate the same and remained obese, so it was concluded that obesity was a state of leptin resistance," he added.

In the UC study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the team took a different approach. They blocked leptin action in both lean and obese mice. The results were that both sets of mice ate more and gained weight to the same extent, proving that "leptin action was not impaired in the obese mouse."

Perez-Tilve said that the results of this study show "we need to change our way of thinking about how to use leptin as a potential target for therapy to treat obesity."

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to Bariatric News!

Bariatric News
Keep up to date! Get the latest news in your inbox. NOTE: Bariatric News WILL NOT pass on your details to 3rd parties. However, you may receive ‘marketing emails’ sent by us on behalf of 3rd parties.