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S Soderberg, B Ahren, M Eliasson, B Dinesen, K Brismar and T Olsson

OBJECTIVE: Hyperleptinaemia and hyperinsulinaemia interrelate to insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP-1), and disturbances in the growth hormone-IGF-I axis are linked to obesity and cardiovascular diseases. However, whether the association between leptin and the GH-IGF-I axis is altered with increasing obesity is not known. We therefore examined the relationship between leptin, IGF-I, IGFBP-1, insulin and proinsulin in men and women with or without obesity in a population study. DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: Healthy subjects (n=158; 85 men and 73 pre- and postmenopausal women) from the Northern Sweden MONICA (Monitoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease) population were studied with a cross-sectional design. METHODS: Anthropometric measurements (body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference) and oral glucose tolerance tests were performed. Radioimmunoassays were used for the analyses of leptin, IGF-I and IGFBP-1, and ELISAs for specific insulin and proinsulin. RESULTS: Leptin inversely correlated to IGFBP-1 in non-obese men (P<0.05) and obese postmenopausal women (P<0.05). In contrast, leptin did not correlate to IGF-I. IGFBP-1 was also significantly associated with proinsulin in non-obese men (P<0.01) and non-obese premenopausal women (P<0.05). The association between leptin and IGFBP-1 was lost after adjustment for insulin. In multivariate analyses taking measures of adiposity into account, low proinsulin, and IGF-I in combination with old age, but not leptin, predicted high IGFBP-1 levels. CONCLUSIONS: Leptin was inversely associated with IGFBP-1 in non-obese men and obese postmenopausal women, and proinsulin was inversely associated with IGFBP-1 in non-obese men and premenopausal women. However, these associations were lost with increasing central obesity in men and premenopausal women and after control for insulin. Therefore, this study suggests (i) that leptin is of minor importance for regulation of IGFBP-1 levels and (ii) that the insulin resistance syndrome is characterised by an altered relationship between leptin, IGFBP-1 and insulin.

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SG Hartling, M Knip, ME Roder, B Dinesen, HK Akerblom and C Binder

OBJECTIVE: To follow proinsulin immunoreactive material (PIM) in healthy siblings from the time of diagnosis of insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in the proband, for at least 2 years. DESIGN AND METHODS: The study comprised 148 siblings representing 112 families. The siblings were recruited from the nationwide 'Childhood Diabetes in Finland' study and tested for immunological markers. If a sibling was found positive for islet cell antibodies (ICA) or insulin autoantibodies (IAA), PIM sampling was extended beyond 2 years. RESULTS: Of the 148 siblings, 12 developed IDDM 3-53 months after the diagnosis in the proband. Eleven of these siblings exhibited initially normal PIM concentrations. In nine siblings, samples were available both more than 6 months and during the last 6 months before the diagnosis of IDDM; PIM concentrations increased in seven, remained unchanged in one, and decreased in one in the period up to the diagnosis of IDDM (P < 0.05). Median PIM concentration did not change significantly during the examination period of 2 years in the 136 siblings who did not contract IDDM. Constantly increased PIM concentrations were found in 12 of the 136 siblings who did not develop IDDM. These 12 siblings were all ICA negative. CONCLUSION: In healthy siblings of IDDM patients exhibiting an initially low PIM concentration, an abrupt increase in PIM seems to precede the clinical manifestation of IDDM within 0-6 months. However, there were too few patients available to close follow-up to allow calculation of any predictive value of this increase. Persistently increased PIM concentrations were present in some healthy siblings who did not develop IDDM. The reason for that finding remains unclear, but it could be associated with previous B cell damage.

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SM Echwald, JO Clausen, T Hansen, SA Urhammer, L Hansen, B Dinesen and K Borch-Johnsen

OBJECTIVE: Circulating leptin levels correlate positively with the degree of obesity and prolonged hyperinsulinaemia increases serum leptin levels. Moreover, insulin secreting beta-cells express functional leptin receptors indicating a functional relationship between leptin and insulin. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between fasting serum leptin levels and measures of insulin sensitivity and beta-cell function in a population-based sample of 380 young healthy Caucasians. DESIGN AND METHODS: Multiple regression analysis was employed to analyse the relationship between fasting serum leptin levels and levels of fasting serum insulin, insulin sensitivity index and acute insulin response (AIR) in a population-based study of 380 young healthy Caucasians who underwent a combined intravenous glucose and tolbutamide tolerance test. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Serum leptin levels were positively correlated to measures of adiposity and were 3.2 times higher in women than in men (P<0.00001). In multiple regression analyses adjusting for age, percentage body fat, waist circumference and maximal aerobic capacity, a significant positive correlation was observed between the fasting serum leptin concentrations and both fasting serum insulin levels (P<0.0001) and AIR (P = 0.014) for women. No significant interrelation of these variables was found in men. However, for both genders a significant negative correlation was observed between fasting serum leptin levels and measures of insulin sensitivity index (P = 0.007).