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Small Study Suggests Leptin Could Maintain Weight Loss

Low-dose leptin reversed body's adaptations to pre-weight loss levels

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Low-dose leptin could reverse the skeletal muscle, autonomic and neuroendocrine changes that occur after weight loss, which may help prevent dieters from regaining weight, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Michael Rosenbaum, M.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and colleagues examined metabolic, autonomic and neuroendocrine phenotypes in 10 inpatient subjects, including seven who were obese.

One group maintained usual weight while consuming a liquid formula diet; the second maintained 10% reduced weight while ingesting a liquid formula diet; and a third group received twice-daily subcutaneous doses of leptin, while on the same liquid formula diet used to maintain 10% weight loss. Leptin levels were restored to concentrations seen at 8 a.m. during pre-weight loss levels.

The researchers found that during leptin administration, energy expenditure, skeletal muscle work efficiency, sympathetic nervous system tone, and circulating concentrations of thyroxine and triiodothyroxine returned to pre-weight loss levels.

"These responses suggest that the weight-reduced state may be regarded as a condition of relative leptin insufficiency," the authors write. "Prevention of weight regain might be achievable by strategies relevant to reversing this leptin-insufficient state."

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