Leptin reverses insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis in patients with severe lipodystrophy

J Clin Invest. 2002 May;109(10):1345-50. doi: 10.1172/JCI15001.


Lipodystrophy is a rare disorder that is characterized by selective loss of subcutaneous and visceral fat and is associated with hypertriglyceridemia, hepatomegaly, and disordered glucose metabolism. It has recently been shown that chronic leptin treatment ameliorates these abnormalities. Here we show that chronic leptin treatment improves insulin-stimulated hepatic and peripheral glucose metabolism in severely insulin-resistant lipodystrophic patients. This improvement in insulin action was associated with a marked reduction in hepatic and muscle triglyceride content. These data suggest that leptin may represent an important new therapy to reverse the severe hepatic and muscle insulin resistance and associated hepatic steatosis in patients with lipodystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / drug therapy
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / complications
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Leptin / therapeutic use*
  • Lipodystrophy / complications
  • Lipodystrophy / drug therapy*
  • Lipodystrophy / metabolism*
  • Lipodystrophy / pathology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology


  • Leptin