Elevated leptin levels are associated with excess gains in fat mass in girls, but not boys, with type 1 diabetes: longitudinal study during adolescence

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Mar;86(3):1188-93. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.3.7320.


Adolescents, in particular girls, with type 1 diabetes may gain excessive weight during puberty. We present the results of a longitudinal study aimed to determine the roles of leptin and insulin in changes in body composition in subjects with type 1 diabetes and controls. Forty-six children (23 boys) with type 1 diabetes and 40 controls (20 boys) were followed from 8-17 yr of age. Height, weight, and sc skinfolds were assessed every 6 months, and a blood sample taken for leptin determination. Throughout the age range, body mass index (mean +/- SEM) was greater by 1.45 +/- 0.69 kg/m(2) in girls and 1.46 +/- 0.55 kg/m(2) in boys with type 1 diabetes compared with control values. In girls with type 1 diabetes, this reflected greater percent body fat (3.2 +/- 1.0%; P = 0.002), whereas in boys it related to differences in fat-free mass. Both boys and girls with type 1 diabetes had higher leptin levels adjusted for percent body fat than controls; in the girls this was related to insulin dose (regression coefficient B = 0.006 +/- 0.003; P = 0.04) and greater gains in fat mass. Hyperinsulinemia and raised leptin levels are associated with gains in fat mass throughout puberty in girls, but not boys, with type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adolescent
  • Aging
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Leptin / analysis*
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Puberty
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Skinfold Thickness


  • Insulin
  • Leptin