• Open Access

The role of leptin in glucose homeostasis


Timothy J Kieffer Tel.: +1-604-822-2156 Fax: +1-604-822-2316 E-mail address: tim.kieffer@ubc.ca


The fat-derived hormone, leptin, is well known to regulate body weight. However, there is now substantial evidence that leptin also plays a primary role in the regulation of glucose homeostasis, independent of actions on food intake, energy expenditure or body weight. As such, leptin might have clinical utility in treating hyperglycemia, particularly in conditions of leptin deficiency, such as lipodystrophy and diabetes mellitus. The mechanisms through which leptin modulates glucose metabolism have not been fully elucidated. Leptin receptors are widely expressed in peripheral tissues, including the endocrine pancreas, liver, skeletal muscle and adipose, and both direct and indirect leptin action on these tissues contributes to the control of glucose homeostasis. Here we review the role of leptin in glucose homeostasis, along with our present understanding of the mechanisms involved. (J Diabetes Invest, doi: 10.1111/j.2040-1124.2012.00203.x, 2012)