Effect of leptin replacement on intrahepatic and intramyocellular lipid content in patients with generalized lipodystrophy

Vinaya Simha, Lidia S. Szczepaniak, Anthony J. Wagner, Alex M. Depaoli, Abhimanyu Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - To investigate whether leptin-induced improvements in glycemic control, hyperlipidemia, and insulin sensitivity in hypoleptinemic patients with generalized lipodystrophies are accompanied by reduction in intrahepatic and intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) accumulation. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We examined the effects 8-10 months of subcutaneous leptin replacement therapy on insulin sensitivity, IMCL, and intrahepatic lipid content in two patients with acquired generalized lipodystrophy and one patient with congenital generalized lipodystrophy. All patients had extreme lack of body fat, low plasma leptin levels, and elevated serum triglycerides, but only two had diabetes. Insulin sensitivity was measured by a high-dose (0.2 IU/kg) insulin tolerance test, as well as by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic glucose clamp studies in two patients. IMCL and intrahepatic lipid content were measured by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy. All measurements were obtained before and during 2-10 months of leptin therapy. RESULTS - Glycemic control and lipoprotein levels markedly improved with leptin therapy in the two diabetic patients, and a slight improvement in lipoprotein levels was seen in the nondiabetic patients. Insulin stimulated glucose uptake during 60-120 min of the euglycemic clamp studies, and the rate of glucose disappearance during the insulin tolerance test nearly doubled with leptin therapy. As compared with the baseline period, after 8-10 months of leptin therapy, the mean intrahepatic lipid content was reduced by ∼80% and the IMCL content was reduced by ∼42%. CONCLUSIONS - Reduction in IMCL and intrahepatic lipid content may partly explain leptin-induced improvement in insulin sensitivity in patients with generalized lipodystrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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