Therapeutic Impact of Leptin on Diabetes, Diabetic Complications, and Longevity in Insulin-Deficient Diabetic Mice

  1. Kazuwa Nakao
  1. Department of Medicine and Clinical Science, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan
  1. Corresponding author: Junji Fujikura, j-fuji{at}


OBJECTIVE The aim of the current study was to evaluate the long-term effects of leptin on glucose metabolism, diabetes complications, and life span in an insulin-dependent diabetes model, the Akita mouse.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We cross-mated Akita mice with leptin-expressing transgenic (LepTg) mice to produce Akita mice with physiological hyperleptinemia (LepTg:Akita). Metabolic parameters were monitored for 10 months. Pair-fed studies and glucose and insulin tolerance tests were performed. The pancreata and kidneys were analyzed histologically. The plasma levels and pancreatic contents of insulin and glucagon, the plasma levels of lipids and a marker of oxidative stress, and urinary albumin excretion were measured. Survival rates were calculated.

RESULTS Akita mice began to exhibit severe hyperglycemia and hyperphagia as early as weaning. LepTg:Akita mice exhibited normoglycemia after an extended fast even at 10 months of age. The 6-h fasting blood glucose levels in LepTg:Akita mice remained about half the level of Akita mice throughout the study. Food intake in LepTg:Akita mice was suppressed to a level comparable to that in WT mice, but pair feeding did not affect blood glucose levels in Akita mice. LepTg:Akita mice maintained insulin hypersensitivity and displayed better glucose tolerance than did Akita mice throughout the follow-up. LepTg:Akita mice had normal levels of plasma glucagon, a marker of oxidative stress, and urinary albumin excretion rates. All of the LepTg:Akita mice survived for >12 months, the median mortality time of Akita mice.

CONCLUSIONS These results indicate that leptin is therapeutically useful in the long-term treatment of insulin-deficient diabetes.

  • Received December 30, 2010.
  • Accepted June 24, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes
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