A recent study at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center has discovered that leptin, a hormone naturally produced by fat cells, can aid the body in weight regulation. Researchers therefore evaluated how safe and tolerable it is to incorporate into a diabetes treatment.
The scientists at UT-Southwestern used mice that were diagnosed with having type 1 diabetes. Each of the subjects was administered leptin. As a result, the mice had healthier blood-sugar levels and converted more simple sugars into fatty acids.
By adding leptin into the subjects' treatment, it actually lowered their blood glucose levels.
The researchers noted that leptin could have benefits for diabetics who need to lose weight, as this hormone decreases an individuals' appetite. Dr. Roger Unger, one of the investigators, said that with this factor, the scientists hope that leptin could reduce the "blood levels of cholesterol, which increase the risk of coronary heart disease, one of the long-term complications of diabetes.
This method is set to be tested on human participants to discover if this hormone works the same way in diabetics as it does in rodents. Unger added that naturally produced leptin may "improve both short- and long-term quality of life for patients with type 1 diabetes" in the future.