Horm Metab Res 1996; 28(12): 737-743
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-979890
Originals Clinical

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Circulating TNF-alpha and Leptin Levels in Offspring of NIDDM Patients Do Not Correlate to Individual Insulin Sensitivity

M. Kellerer1 , K. Rett1 , W. Renn1 , L. Groop2 , H. U. Häring1
  • 1Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Abt. Innere IV, Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
  • 2Wallenberg Laboratory, Department of Endocrinology, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden
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Publication History



Publication Date:
23 April 2007 (online)


Obesity plays a central role in the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance. The molecular mechanism causing skeletal muscle insulin resistance in obese people is still poorly understood. It has been speculated that circulating factors derived from adipose tissue impair insulin signalling in the skeletal muscle cell. TNF-alpha and leptin, which are overproduced in fat tissue of obese insulin resistant animal models and in obese humans, might mediate such an inhibitory effect on insulin signalling in skeletal muscle. The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether circulating TNF-alpha and leptin correlates to the individual skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity in individuals with different degrees of obesity and insulin resistance. We measured circulating TNF-alpha and leptin values in non diabetic offsprings of NIDDM patients. 36 German and 47 Finnish subjects participated in the study. The GDR of each participant was determined by the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique, a range between 1.37 to 14.01 mg/kg LBM × min was observed. Percent of desirable body weight (PDW) covered also a wide range (87.58% to 197.06%). Although linear regression analysis suggested a dependance between TNF-alpha and GDR (Germany group: r = - 0.37, p < 0.05, Finnish group: r = - 0.32, p < 0.05) and a dependance between TNF and PDW (German group: r = 0.46, p < 0.05, Finnish group: r = 0.38, p < 0.05), in multiple linear regression analysis only the correlation with PDW was significant. Leptin levels were measured from 29 German and 36 Finnish subjects and a strong association was found between leptin and PDW (German group: r = 0.55, p < 0.05, Finnish group: r = 0.73, p < 0.05). In contrast, leptin levels did not correlate with GDR and TNF-alpha. In summary, even though, in a few insulin resistant subjects, higher circulating TNF-alpha or leptin levels with the individual insulin sensitivity can be demonstrated, the data suggest that the circulating pool of TNF-alpha and leptin in blood is unlikely to be a major contributing factor for obesity induced insulin resistance in the vast majority of individuals at high risk to develop NIDDM.