Gene Therapy with Leptin Induces Weight Loss

Urszula T. Iwaniec, Ph.D. Associate Professor Skeletal Biology Laboratory School of Biological and Population Health Sciences Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331 MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Urszula T. Iwaniec, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Skeletal Biology Laboratory
School of Biological and Population Health Sciences
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Iwaniec: Excessive weight gain in adults is associated with a variety of negative health outcomes. Unfortunately, dieting, exercise, and pharmacological interventions have had limited long-term success in weight control and can result in detrimental side effects, including accelerating age-related bone loss. Leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells plays an essential role in weight regulation. Delivery of leptin directly into the hypothalamus by gene therapy normalizes body weight. We investigated the efficacy of using hypothalamic leptin gene therapy as an alternative method for reducing weight in skeletally-mature female rats and determined the impact of leptin-induced weight loss on bone. Our findings show that hypothalamic leptin gene therapy reduced body weight with minimal effects on bone mass or microarchitecture.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Iwaniec: The lack of an effect of hypothalamic leptin gene therapy on bone in skeletally mature rats contrasts with the negative skeletal effects associated with similar weight loss induced by caloric restriction. Our findings suggest that interventions, including hypothalamic leptin gene therapy, targeted toward increasing hypothalamic leptin levels have the potential to overcome leptin resistance and lower body weight without negatively impacting the skeleton.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Iwaniec: It will be important to directly compare skeletal response to similar weight loss induced by caloric restriction and hypothalamic gene therapy. Much additional research will be required to determine whether leptin gene therapy is practical for use in humans.

Citation:

Russell T Turner et al. Hypothalamic leptin gene therapy reduces body weight without accelerating age-related bone loss. Journal of Endocrinology, October 2015 DOI: 10.1530/JOE-15-0280

Urszula T. Iwaniec, Ph.D. (2015). Gene Therapy with Leptin Induces Weight Loss