Leptin a Potential Treatment Option for Type 1 Diabetics

Researchers hope this new discovery will facilitate the development of less rigid disease management options for patients with type 1 diabetes.

Leptin may prove a promising new treatment replacement of insulin for type 1 diabetes, according to researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Researchers lead by UT Southwestern professor Dr. Roger Unger administered leptin instead of insulin to mouse models, and found that leptin resulted in “better management of blood-sugar variability and lipogenesis.” The study also revealed that leptin was able to suppress glucagon.

“Leptin treatment in the non-obese type 1 diabetic mouse profoundly reduced food intake, which in turn reduced body fat,” Unger said. “And like insulin, leptin suppresses glucagon in the body and helps increase lean body mass.”

The current treatment regimen for patients with type 1 diabetes includes stringent dietary restrictions and insulin shots, taken multiple times a day. Unger hopes that this discovery will result in the development of new treatment options for patients with type 1 diabetes.

“We hope the positive results we’ve had in animals can translate to people living with this disease,” Unger said. “Insulin therapy has transformed a uniformly fatal disease into a livable one; however, the regimen for people with type 1 diabetes is onerous and symptoms aren’t always well controlled. We hope that low-dose insulin combined with leptin will closely mimic the body’s normal physiological process.”

Source: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center