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Leptin in Relation to the Lipodystrophy-Associated Metabolic Syndrome
Christos S. Mantzoros
Diabetes Metab J. 2012;36(3):181-189.   Published online June 14, 2012
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2012.36.3.181
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AbstractAbstract PDFPubReader   

Leptin, an adipocyte-secreted hormone, regulates energy homeostasis as well as reproductive, neuroendocrine, immune and metabolic functions. Subjects with decreased amounts of fat in their adipose tissue, i.e., lipoatrophy, have low leptin levels. In the context of open-label, uncontrolled studies leptin administration, in physiological replacement doses, has been shown to have metabolically salutary effects in the rare patients with the syndrome of congenital lipodystrophy accompanied by leptin deficiency. Much more patients with lipodystrophy suffer from lipodystrophy and the metabolic syndrome associated with the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy. In this so called highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)-associated lipodystrophy and metabolic syndrome, patients demonstrate fat maldistribution with dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and other metabolic complications. Leptin administration has been shown to decrease central fat mass and to improve fasting insulin/glucose levels and insulin sensitivity in human immunodeficiency virus-infected hypoleptinemic patients with HAART induced lipodystrophy and the metabolic syndrome. By contrast, the results of leptin treatment in leptin replete or hyperleptinemic obese individuals with glucose intolerance and diabetes mellitus have been minimal or null, presumably due to leptin tolerance or resistance that impairs leptin action. In this review, we present the emerging clinical applications and potential therapeutic uses of leptin in humans with lipodystrophy and the metabolic syndrome.

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