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Hyperleptinemia in obesity is the cause of central insulin resistance

Date posted: 9 October 2017

A new study could reveal how obesity and high levels of a fat-derived hormone called leptin can increase a person's risk of developing insulin resistance. This is believed to be one of the reasons behind the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes, as obesity changes the brain’s response to insulin.

Researchers from Monash University plan to block leptin action in the brains of obese mice with the hope of dramatically lowering glucose production by the liver. The research led by Professor Michael Cowley, Head of Physiology, is supported by Diabetes Australia Research Trust.

'We have found that high leptin levels cause certain brain cells to stop responding to insulin. Remarkably, these neurons normally inhibit hepatic glucose production (HGP),' said Professor Cowley.

HGP is a key physiological process during which the liver produces glucose that becomes altered in people with diabetes as the liver begins to malfunction, making more glucose than necessary.

In people with type 2 diabetes, HGP can become dangerous as there’s not enough insulin production by the body to counteract it. High levels of the fat-derived hormone leptin associated with obesity mean insulin can not act in the brain to reduce glucose production by the liver.

Source: Diabetes Australia

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Last updated: 9 October 2017
 
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