Leptin, a product of the ob gene, is a 16 kDa protein which is produced by adipocytes. In humans, obesity is a common finding in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The role, however, of leptin in PCOS is not clear. Some studies have reported increased levels of leptin in PCOS, while others report that they are normal. Also, insulin resistance is a common finding in PCOS. The aim of this study was to investigate further the role of insulin in leptin secretion in patients with PCOS by treating them for 10 days with diazoxide, an insulin-reducing compound. Eight women with PCOS, mean age 22.1 +/- 2.7 years, with mean body mass index (BMI) 28.4 +/- 5.7kg/m2, were studied. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed in all women and blood samples were taken before and at 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 min after the administration of glucose. Glucose, insulin, leptin, free testosterone, delta4 androstenedione, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), LH, FSH, IGF-I and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) were measured in the sera taken before the administration of glucose, while glucose and insulin levels were measured in all samples which were collected after the administration of glucose. Diazoxide 300 mg daily was given to all women starting after the end of the OGTT for 10 days. A second OGTT was performed the day after the discontinuation of the diazoxide treatment. The same hormonal and biochemical parameters were also measured in all patients during the second OGTT. After the administration of diazoxide a reduction in sum insulin (262 +/- 147 vs 679 +/- 341 microU/ml. P<().01), leptin (18.5 +/- 10.6 vs 24.2 +/- 10.2 ng/ml, P<0.01), free testosterone (3.0 +/- 1.9 vs 5.1 +/- 1.9 pg/ml, P<0.01), delta4 androstenedione (3.8 +/- 1.9 vs 5.7 +/- 2.0 ng/ml, P<0.01) and IGF-I (219.5 +/- 69.2 vs 314.5 +/- 82.3 ng/ml, P<0.01) levels was observed. Serum SHBG (38.8 +/- 16.8 vs 27.8 +/- 12.1 nmol/l, P<0.01) and sum glucose levels (994.1 +/- 252.7 vs 711.1 +/- 166.1 mg/dl, P<0.05) were increased while IGFBP-3 (3.96 +/- 2.49 vs 3.75 +/- 2.24mg/l), FSH (6.2 +/- 1.8 vs 6.0 +/- 2.5 mU/l) and LH (18.9 +/- 6.7 vs 21.4 +/- 6.7 mU/l) concentrations did not change significantly. A significant positive correlation was found between serum leptin and BMI values before and after administration of diazoxide as well as between leptin, insulin and IGFBP-3 values. Also, sum insulin values correlated significantly with BMI. However, when multiple regression analysis was used this correlation was eliminated except that between leptin and BMI. This was most probably due to the small number of cases. The mechanism of the reduction of leptin levels is unclear. However, it is suggested that the concomitant decrease of insulin levels may play a role.
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