A Review of the Leptin Hormone and the Association with Obesity and Diabetes Mellitus
This study examines the link between leptin, diabetes, and obesity. Results indicate that while leptin is involved in both diabetes and obesity, the hormone does not cause either condition.

A Review of the Leptin Hormone and the Association with Obesity and Diabetes Mellitus

Aldeam Facey, Lowell Dilworth and Rachael Irving
Published Date: March 08, 2017


Leptin is a protein hormone that regulates food intake. It is secreted by the adipocytes and contains 167 amino acids. The hormone signals the hypothalamus and is released to reduce the desire for food thereby controlling appetite. Research shows that diet-induced obesity results in leptin resistance, so while the level of leptin may be high, it is ineffective.

Leptin is also increased in type 2 diabetes mellitus which is strongly associated with obesity and insulin resistance. While leptin may be elevated in both diabetes and obesity, it is not the cause of either disease. It has been suggested that leptin mediates insulin resistance and as such may be a possible treatment for insulin resistance.

Diet induced leptin resistance can be reversed through dietary changes and its administration can be effective in combating insulin resistance. Leptin levels may also decrease with increased exercise.

The pathophysiology involving leptin resistance is unclear. More leptin studies are needed as it may be an unexplored treatment for diabetes and may be able to provide a more detailed understanding of the disease.

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