Soluble leptin receptor

Clinical and mechanistic studies to explore the relationship with insulin resistance and glucose metabolism

Primary Investigator: Christine Sommer

The hormone leptin is mainly produced by adipocytes and correlates strongly with fat mass in clinical studies. Leptin is further known as a satiety hormone as it activates leptin receptors in the hypothalamus which in turn inhibits appetite. In addition, leptin plays an important role in reproduction, bone metabolism and glycemic control.

Leptin receptors are found in most tissues throughout the body. In humans, there are four membrane bound isoforms of the leptin receptor. Although the intracellular domain differs across the four, the extracellular domain is the same and can be shed off the cell membrane to form the soluble leptin receptor, which can be found in extracellular fluids such as serum. Increasing evidence suggest that the soluble leptin receptor reflects the amount of membrane bound leptin receptors, and thereby reflect efficient leptin signaling.

We have previously shown that plasma soluble leptin receptor seem to prospectively protect against development of gestational diabetes, and that high levels are associated with increased insulin sensitivity in normo- and dysglycemic men.

We are currently exploring the soluble leptin receptor further in clinical studies of persons with type 2 diabetes, during meal tests, as well as mechanistic studies of myotubes derived from human myocytes.