Waning Effects of Leptin

Previous signs suggesting that a hormone known as leptin might lead to the discovery of effective and ingenious weight-loss drugs are now unclear. Still, some scientists remain hopeful. When leptin, the proclaimed fat-regulating hormone was first discovered, researchers thought it might be the key to discover new obesity-fighting drugs. That was, however, 15 years ago and to date, scientists are still trying to discover leptin-based weight-loss drugs and therapies.

The progress in the drug discovery has been much slower than originally anticipated. This is due to leptin having an effect on different biochemical pathways in the body than initially thought. Researchers remain uncertain as to how exactly leptin works in controlling the biochemical pathways. Read on to learn more about the waning promise of leptin in the fight against obesity.

A Few Facts About Leptin

Leptin was first discovered in the mid-1990s by chance. Researchers noticed that when the gene containing the instructions to produce leptin in mice was mutated and didn’t produce leptin, the mice became obese quickly.  However, when the mice were given specific doses of leptin, they rapidly lost weight.

Studies conducted on humans confirmed the fact that increased leptin doses can lead to weight loss. According to one study, 73 obese adults who were given 0.3 milligram of leptin injections daily for every kilogram of body weight lost nearly 15 pounds in 24 weeks. This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association” in the year 1999. This study also revealed that the more leptin administered, the better the results, leading to the conclusion that this was a perfect, natural hormone that could be harnessed to improve weightloss.

Other Studies

Unfortunately, other studies complicated this ideal scenario. According to a 1996 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, obese people reportedly have higher levels of leptin when compared to leaner individuals, creating a large dispute regarding the effects of leptin in the fight against obesity.

Numerous conflicting studies on these two sides of the story have, instead of creating clarity, further confused the issue, leaving the current knowledge of leptin’s role in obesity as uncertain and in need of further exploration.




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