Battle of the bulge: Low leptin levels undermine successful weight loss

Jun 21, 2008

Individuals who are obese are at increased risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As 75%-95% of previously obese individuals regain their lost weight, many researchers are interested in developing treatments to help individuals maintain their weight loss. A new study, by Michael Rosenbaum and colleagues, at Columbia University Medical Center, New York, has provided new insight into the critical interaction between the hormone leptin and the brain's response to weight loss.

Leptin levels fall as obese individuals lose weight. So, the authors set out to see whether changes in leptin levels altered activity in the regions of the brain known to have a role in regulating food intake. They observed that activity in these regions of the brain in response to visual food-related cues changed after an obese individual successfully lost weight.

However, these changes in brain activity were not observed if the obese individual who had successfully lost weight was treated with leptin. These data are consistent with the idea that the decrease in leptin levels that occurs when an individual loses weight serves to protect the body against the loss of body fat.

Further, both the authors and, in an accompanying commentary, Rexford Ahima, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, suggest that leptin therapy after weight loss might improve weight maintenance by overriding this fat-loss defense.

PDF of this article at: www.the-jci.org/article.php?id=35055

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation

Explore further: Study reveals significantly increased risk of stillbirth in males

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kittens: Their microbiomes are what they eat

Oct 22, 2012

For animals as well as people, diet affects what grows in the gut. The gut microbial colonies, also known as the gut microbiome, begin to form at birth. Their composition affects how the immune system develops and is linked ...

Lambs provide crucial link in understanding obesity

Mar 14, 2011

The research, published today in The Journal of Physiology, shows a definite link between maternal and offspring obesity and is the first demonstration that this is the case in mammals which bear 'mature offspring' – ...

Recommended for you

Health care organizations see value of telemedicine

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Health care organizations are developing and implementing telemedicine programs, although many have yet to receive reimbursement, according to a report published by Foley & Lardner.

Before you go... are you in denial about death?

11 hours ago

For most of us, death conjures up strong feelings. We project all kinds of fears onto it. We worry about it, dismiss it, laugh it off, push it aside or don't think about it at all. Until we have to. Of course, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.