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R Buettner, LC Bollheimer, B Zietz, W Drobnik, K Lackner, G Schmitz, J Scholmerich, and KD Palitzsch

The adipocyte-derived hormone, leptin, has been implicated in the regulation of appetite, weight gain and glucose homeostasis as well as in liver fibrogenesis, hematopoiesis and immune function. No previous reports have clearly defined pathologically elevated or decreased serum leptin levels for Caucasian adults. The aim of this study was to define and characterize subjects with relative hyper- and hypoleptinemia in a large population-based German cohort. Percentiles of leptin levels by body mass index (BMI) were calculated from 4971 adult Germans, and the participants with leptin levels above the 95th and below the 5th percentile were defined as relatively hyperleptinemic and relatively hypoleptinemic, respectively, for their BMI. These participants were compared with the intermediate group with respect to anthropometric and clinical data and parameters of glucose and iron metabolism, lipid status, renal, adrenal and reproductive function. Relatively hyperleptinemic participants (HL) showed higher insulin, c-peptide, and total cholesterol levels than the hypoleptinemic subjects; in males, ferritin levels were higher and testosterone levels lower in the HL group. In conclusion, we report the first percentile curves for serum leptin by BMI in a large Caucasian population. Relatively low leptin values may be associated with a lower metabolic risk than relatively high serum leptin values.

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EG Siegel, A Seidenstucker, B Gallwitz, F Schmitz, A Reinecke-Luthge, G Kloppel, UR Folsch, and WE Schmidt

Liver cirrhosis is often accompanied by a disturbed carbohydrate metabolism similar to type 2 diabetes. To investigate the severity of the defect in insulin secretion in this form of diabetes, we measured insulin release from isolated pancreatic islets of rats with CCl(4)-phenobarbital-induced liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis was confirmed by clinical signs, elevated liver enzymes and histology. Fasting venous plasma glucose concentrations were equal in rats with liver cirrhosis and in controls. Plasma insulin and glucagon concentrations were significantly greater (P<0.01) in cirrhotic rats than in control animals. Glucose (16.7 mM)-induced stimulation of insulin release from pancreatic islets revealed a twofold increase in control and cirrhotic rats. Basal and stimulated insulin secretion, however, were significantly lower in cirrhotic animals. The incretin hormone, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), has therapeutic potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, islets from control and cirrhotic animals were incubated with GLP-1 in concentrations from 10(-)(11) to 10(-)(6) M. GLP-1 stimulated insulin release in a concentration-dependent manner. In islets from cirrhotic rats, basal and stimulated insulin secretion was blunted compared with controls. These data show that the hyperinsulinemia observed in liver cirrhosis is not due to an increase of insulin secretion from islets, but could be explained by decreased hepatic clearance of insulin. GLP-1 may ameliorate diabetes in patients with liver cirrhosis.