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Paper Chase

Selective interaction between leptin and insulin signaling pathways in a hepatic cell line.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. Feb 29, 2000;97(5):2355-60.
Szanto I, Kahn CR.

Joslin Diabetes Center, Research Division and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Leptin is a 16-kDa hormone secreted by adipocytes and plays an important role in control of feeding behavior and energy expenditure. In obesity, circulating levels of leptin and insulin are high because of the presence of increased body fat mass and insulin resistance. Recent reports have suggested that leptin can act through some of the components of the insulin signaling cascade, such as insulin receptor substrates (IRS-1 and IRS-2), phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), and mitogen-activated protein kinase, and can modify insulin-induced changes in gene expression in vitro and in vivo. Well differentiated hepatoma cells (Fao) possess both the long and short forms of the leptin receptor and respond to leptin with a stimulation of c-fos gene expression. In Fao cells, leptin alone had no effects on the insulin signaling pathway, but leptin pretreatment transiently enhanced insulin-induced tyrosine phosphorylation and PI 3-kinase binding to IRS-1, while producing an inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation and PI 3-kinase binding to IRS-2. Leptin alone also induced serine phosphorylation of Akt and glycogen synthase kinase 3 but to a lesser extent than insulin, and the combination of these hormones was not additive. These results suggest complex interactions between the leptin and insulin signaling pathways that can potentially lead to differential modification of the metabolic and mitotic effects of insulin exerted through IRS-1 and IRS-2 and the downstream kinases that they activate.