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International Journal of Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2 (2001), Issue 2, Pages 121-127

Leptin in Children with Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes: Effect of Insulin Therapy

1University of Alabama, Children's Hospital, ACC 608, 1600 Seventh Ave. South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233-0011, USA
2Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA

Received 13 December 2000; Accepted 28 February 2001

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leptin, the gene product of adipose tissue that signals caloric plentitude via central nervous system receptors, may also have diverse peripheral metabolic actions. Of paramount interest has been the potential interaction(s) between leptin and insulin. Insofar as insulin alters leptin secretion/action (or vice versa), dysregulation of this system could contribute to disease states such as diabetes.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of exogenous insulin on serum leptin in children with newly-diagnosed Type 1 diabetes. Since these patients are hypoinsulinemic (insulindeplet. ed) at diagnosis, they present an ideal opportunity to examine the effect of insulin repletion on serum leptin. Seventeen patients were enrolled. At baseline (prior to insulin therapy), leptin levels were 4.3 ± 1.1ng/ml; they were not statistically related to the baseline serum insulin or illness severity. There was no significant change in serum leptin before, shortly (1–6 days) or several weeks (3–26 weeks) after insulin treatment even when the data was corrected for changes in BMI, hemoglobin A1C, and daily insulin dose. Since repletion of the insulin deficiency that is present in non-acidotic, ambulatory patients with new onset Type 1 diabetes did not alter serum leptin, these results argue against an effect of insulin on serum leptin in the absence of the acute diabetic ketoacidosis. Because as the recuperative months following the diagnosis of new onset Type 1 diabetes are marked by weight gain, the absence of a rise in serum leptin might also indicate either an adaptive (weight permissive) or pathologic (impaired secretory) deficit.