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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1998 Feb;83(2):503-8.

Leptin levels, beta-cell function, and insulin sensitivity in families with congenital and acquired generalized lipoatropic diabetes.

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Centro de Pesquisas da Endocrinologia-CEPEN, Santa Casa de Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil.


Lipoatropic diabetes (LD) designates a group of syndromes characterized by diabetes mellitus with marked insulin resistance and either a localized or generalized absence of adipose tissue. In this study, we evaluated plasma leptin levels in subjects with congenital generalized lipoatropic diabetes (CGLD, n = 11) or acquired generalized lipoatropic diabetes (AGLD, n = 11), and assessed correlations between leptin levels and estimations of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity using homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Leptin levels were 0.86 +/- 0.32, 1.76 +/- 0.78, and 6.9 +/- 4.4 ng/mL in subjects with CGLD, AGLD, and controls (n = 19), respectively (ANOVA P < 0.0001). Specific insulin levels were 154 +/- 172, 177 +/- 137 and 43 +/- 22 pmol/L, respectively (P < 0.0001). Insulin sensitivity was significantly decreased in both groups with LD (P < 0.0001), whereas HOMA beta-cell function was not significantly different when compared with controls. Leptin levels were significantly correlated with body mass index, insulin levels, and HOMA beta-cell function, and inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity in control subjects but not in subjects with generalized LD. In conclusion, decreased leptin levels were observed in subjects with generalized LD, with a trend towards lower levels in the acquired than in the congenital form (P = 0.06). The temporal relationship between the decrease in leptin levels and the development of lipoatrophy should be investigated in at-risk young relatives of subjects with the acquired forms to assess the usefulness of leptin levels as a marker of lipoatrophy.

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