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J Bohlender, M Rauh, J Zenk, and M Groschl

Leptin plays a central role in the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure in rodents. However, it has become clear that this hormone has more than only a satiety-inducing function, and that there are other sources of leptin, such as the central nervous system, placenta and the gastrointestinal tract in addition to adipose tIssue. Knowing about the important role of the salivary glands in food intake and digestion, it was the objective of the present study to investigate how leptin and its receptor are expressed and distributed in the major salivary glands of humans. We found leptin distributed throughout the major salivary glands with obvious intracellular concentrations in granula. In contrast, immunostaining for the leptin receptor was found exclusively in the membranes of the glandular cells. A high density of the leptin receptor was localised in the epithelia of the duct lumen. PCR analysis proved the autonomous expression of leptin by the salivary glands independently from adipocytes. Accordingly the long receptor isoform was expressed by any examined tIssue. In the light of recent findings of leptin influencing the growth of rodent salivary glands, the presence and distribution of leptin and its receptor suggests an autocrine role of salivary leptin within the glands.

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M Groschl, I Knerr, HG Topf, P Schmid, W Rascher, and M Rauh

The response of insulin, human growth hormone (hGH), cortisol, leptin and ghrelin, in addition to various metabolic parameters, was measured at 10 minute intervals following the oral ingestion of a standardised physiological dose of essential amino acids (AA). Twenty-eight healthy male, fasted volunteers (aged 18-40 yrs, BMI 18.0-24.5 kg/m(2)) took part in the study; 13 volunteers in the AA group, nine subjects in an iso-caloric control group, and a further six subjects served as fasting controls. Twenty minutes after ingestion, insulin reached peak concentrations that were up to 500% higher than basal values (P<0.0001). The AA group and iso-caloric control group showed a similar insulin response. AA ingestion led to an increase in hGH secretion with maximum concentrations being 2100+/-1013% higher than the basal values (P<0.0001). In contrast, no changes in hGH concentrations were observed in the iso-caloric controls; in the fasting controls only a slight increase in hGH was found towards the end of the fasting period. While cortisol decreased significantly (P<0.01) during the study in the AA group, neither control group showed a significant change in this parameter. Changes in leptin levels remained insignificant in all three groups, whereas ghrelin showed a different profile in each of the three groups, i.e. a continuous rise towards the end of the study period (P<0.001) in the AA group, a less significant effect for the fasting group, and no effect at all in the iso-caloric control group. There was no significant correlation between the concentrations or the area under curve of the hormones measured in any of the groups. The endocrine data provided in this study indicate that a single bolus of essential AA in fasted individuals is associated with both anabolic and catabolic hormonal responses.