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J Biol Chem. 1997 Oct 31;272(44):27758-63.

Short term effects of leptin on hepatic gluconeogenesis and in vivo insulin action.

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  • 1Diabetes Research and Training Center and Division of Endocrinology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Long term administration of leptin decreases caloric intake and fat mass and improves glucose tolerance. Here we examine whether leptin acutely regulates peripheral and hepatic insulin action. Recombinant mouse leptin (0.3 mg/kg.h, Leptin +) or vehicle (Leptin -) were administered for 6 h to 4-month-old rats (n = 20), and insulin (3 milliunits/kg.min) clamp studies were performed. During physiologic hyperinsulinemia (plasma insulin approximately 65 microunits/ml), the rates of whole body glucose uptake, glycolysis, and glycogen synthesis and the rates of 2-deoxyglucose uptake in individual tissues were similar in Leptin - and Leptin +. Post-absorptive hepatic glucose production (HGP) was similar in the two groups. However, leptin enhanced insulin's inhibition of HGP (4.1 +/- 0.7 and 6.2 +/- 0.7 mg/kg.min; p < 0.05). The decreased HGP in the Leptin + group was due to a marked suppression of hepatic glycogenolysis (0.7 +/- 0.1 versus 4.1 +/- 0.6 mg/kg.min, in Leptin + versus Leptin -, respectively; p < 0.001), whereas the % contribution of gluconeogenesis to HGP was markedly increased (82 +/- 3% versus 36 +/- 4% in Leptin + and Leptin -, respectively; p < 0.001). At the end of the 6-h leptin infusion, the hepatic abundance of glucokinase mRNA was decreased, whereas that of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase mRNA was increased compared with Leptin -. We conclude that an acute increase in plasma leptin 1) enhances insulin's ability to inhibit HGP, 2) does not affect peripheral insulin action, and 3) induces a redistribution of intrahepatic glucose fluxes and changes in the gene expression of hepatic enzymes that closely resemble those of fasting.

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