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Horm Metab Res. 1999 Jan;31(1):37-40.

Serum leptin concentrations during short-term administration of growth hormone and triiodothyronine in healthy adults: a randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study.

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  • 1Medical Department of M (Endocrinology and Diabetes), Aarhus University Hospital, Nørrebrogade, Denmark.


The regulation of adipose tissue mass and energy expenditure is currently subject to intensive research, which primarily relates to the discovery of leptin. Leptin is a peptide, which is the product of the obese (ob) gene expressed in adipose tissue of several species icluding humans. Leptin is supposed to serve both as an index of fat mass and as a sensor of energy balance. Administration of recombinant murine leptin in ob/ob-mice, which do not produce leptin, decreases food intake and increases thermogenesis both of which result in a reduction in body weight and adipose tissue mass. The calorigenic effect of leptin presumably acts through an increase in sympathetic outflow which in turn activates the beta3 adrenergic receptor in brown adipose tissue. The regulation and action of endogenous leptin in humans are less well understood, and clinical grade recombinant human leptin is so far not available. Serum leptin correlates logarithmically with total body fat in both normal weight and obese subjects, which suggest insensitivity to leptin in obese patients. Furthermore, more rapid excursions in serum leptin have been reported following short-term changes in caloric intake and administration of insulin. Growth hormone (GH) exerts pronounced effects on lipid metabolism and resting energy expenditure. The lipolytic actions of GH appear to involve both increased sensitivity to the beta-adrenergic pathway, and a suppression of adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase activity. The calorigenic effects of GH have been shown not only to be secondary to changes in lean body mass. Growth hormone administration furthermore increases the peripheral conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine, which may contribute to the overall actions of GH on fuel and energy metabolism. So far, little is known about the effects of GH and iodothyronines on serum leptin levels in humans. We therefore measured serum leptin levels and energy expenditure before and after the administration of GH and triiodothyronine, alone and in combinaion, in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study in healthy young male adults. The dose of triiodothyronine was selected to obtain serum levels comparable to those seen after GH administration.

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