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The silent PPARgamma exon 6 CAC(His) --> CAT(His) polymorphism does not affect the plasma leptin levels in a collective of first degree relatives of type 2 diabetes patients from South West Germany.

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Medizinische Klinik der Universität Tübingen, Abt. IV. Innere Medizin, Endokrinologie, Germany.


The peroxisome proliferator activated receptors-gamma (PPARgamma) belong to the superfamily of nuclear transcription factors acting as master genes regulating events in adipocyte differentiation. Thus, PPARgamma is a candidate gene for affecting insulin sensitivity and the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. PPARs trigger endocrine response of two important adipose tissue-derived signalling factors, leptin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Leptin is the afferent signal in a negative feedback loop regulating adipose tissue mass and energy balance. It generates insulin-like signals for glucose transport and glycogen synthesis via leptin receptors and the PI3-kinase and could, therefore, play a role as a mediator of obesity-related insulin resistance. Recently, a silent substitution in the coding sequence of the PPARgamma2 gene, leading to the substitution of a C by a T in exon 6 (nt 161), was described. In a recent study, it was proposed that mutations in PPARgamma could play a role in individuals who are at increased risk for developing obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus by influencing leptin levels. We therefore examined the prevalence of the CAC(His) --> CAT(His) mutation in non-diabetic first degree relatives of subjects with type 2 diabetes to determine a possible association of this mutation to leptin levels and insulin sensitivity. 138 probands were characterised by oral glucose tolerance tests, euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic glucose-clamp and by measuring leptin levels. We found 93 (67.4%) probands without the CAC(His) --> CAT(His) substitution and 45 heterozygotes (36.6%). When the whole group was analysed for an association of the mutation with plasma leptin concentration and insulin sensitivity, no statistical significance could be demonstrated. Independently of the mutation, leptin levels were significantly (p<0.001) higher in female subjects.

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