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Metabolism. 2000 Mar;49(3):335-9.

Leptin levels in humans are acutely suppressed by isoproterenol despite acipimox-induced inhibition of lipolysis, but not by free fatty acids.

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Medizinische Klinik, Abteilung für Endokrinologie, Stoffwechsel und Pathobiochemie, Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen, Germany.


Leptin secretion is complexly regulated in humans. Insulin has been shown to stimulate leptin secretion, whereas in vitro data suggest that catecholamines and free fatty acids (FFAs) inhibit leptin secretion. To dissect differential effects on leptin secretion, we performed two experimental protocols in 11 lean healthy subjects in addition to a saline infusion plus oral acipimox to suppress lipolysis (SAL + ACX) as a control experiment: (1) isoproterenol (approximately 30 ng/kg x min, to increase the heart rate by approximately 50 bpm) plus oral acipimox (ISO + ACX, 240 minutes) and (2) Intralipid (Pharmacia & Upjohn, Erlangen, Germany) plus heparin (LIP, 420 minutes). During SAL + ACX, FFAs decreased from 0.44 +/- 0.04 to 0.06 +/- 0.02 mmol/L (P = .001), while serum insulin and leptin remained unchanged. During ISO + ACX, FFAs decreased similarly from 0.41 +/- 0.13 to 0.09 +/- 0.02 mmol/L (P= .001), while insulin increased from 47 +/- 8 to a maximum of 116 +/- 15 pmol/L (P= .001) and serum leptin decreased acutely from 6.4 +/- 2.1 to a minimum of 5.4 +/- 1.8 ng/mL after 90 minutes (P = .003 vSAL + ACX). After 150 minutes, leptin returned to control levels. During LIP, the elevation of FFAs from 0.34 +/- 0.04 to 1.71 +/- 0.19 mmol/L (P = .001) had no effect on serum insulin or leptin concentrations (both P = nonsignificant). In conclusion, our results show that in humans, isoproterenol acutely suppresses leptin levels independently of increased FFAs, and elevated FFAs have no acute effect on leptin levels. The fact that an inhibition of leptin secretion occurred despite conditions that are known to suppress intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels, as demonstrated by suppressed lipolysis, suggests that signaling mechanisms other than those mediated by cAMP must be involved in modulating leptin secretion.

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