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Peptides. 2009 Oct;30(10):1957-63. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2009.07.021. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Central leptin gene therapy ameliorates diabetes type 1 and 2 through two independent hypothalamic relays; a benefit beyond weight and appetite regulation.

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Department of Neuroscience, McKnight Brain Institute, College of Medicine, University of Florida, PO Box 100244, Gainesville, FL 32610-0244, United States.


Although its role in energy homeostasis is firmly established, the evidence accumulated over a decade linking the adipocyte leptin-hypothalamus axis in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus has received little attention in the contemporary thinking. In this context various lines of evidence are collated here to show that (1) under the direction of leptin two independent relays emanating from the hypothalamus restrain insulin secretion from the pancreas and mobilize peripheral organs--liver, skeletal muscle and brown adipose tissue--to upregulate glucose disposal, and (2), leptin insufficiency in the hypothalamus produced by either leptinopenia or restriction of leptin transport across the blood brain barrier due to hyperleptinemia of obesity and aging, initiate antecedent pathophysiological sequalae of diabetes type 1 and 2. Further, we document here the efficacy of leptin replenishment in vivo, especially by supplying it to the hypothalamus with the aid of gene therapy, in preventing the antecedent pathophysiological sequalae--hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and hyperglycemia--in various animal models and clinical paradigms of diabetes type 1 and 2 with or without attendant obesity. Overall, the new insights on the long-lasting antidiabetic potential of two independent hypothalamic relays engendered by central leptin gene therapy and the preclinical safety indicators in rodents warrant further validation in subhuman primates and humans.

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