To elucidate the role of leptin in regulating neuroendocrine and metabolic function during an acute fast, six to eight healthy, lean men were studied under four separate conditions: a baseline fed state and three 72-hour fasting studies with administration of either placebo, low-dose recombinant-methionyl human leptin (r-metHuLeptin), or replacement-dose r-metHuLeptin designed to maintain serum leptin at levels similar to those in the fed state. Replacement-dose r-metHuLeptin administered during fasting prevents the starvation-induced changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and, in part, the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and IGF-1 binding capacity in serum. Thus, in normal men, the fall in leptin with fasting may be both necessary and sufficient for the physiologic adaptations of these axes, which require leptin levels above a certain threshold for activation. In contrast to findings in mice, fasting-induced changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, renin-aldosterone, and growth hormone–IGF-1 axes as well as fuel utilization may be independent of leptin in humans. The role of leptin in normalizing several starvation-induced neuroendocrine changes may have important implications for the pathophysiology and treatment of eating disorders and obesity.
Jean L. Chan, Kathleen Heist, Alex M. DePaoli, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Christos S. Mantzoros
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.