To hypothesize if glibenclamide, which increases insulin levels, also increases leptin concentrations.


Leptin is a hormone that regulates weight in mice. In obese humans, leptin concentrations are increased, suggesting resistance to the effects of this hormone. Although short-term infusion of insulin during the hyperinsulinemiceuglycemic clamp does not increase leptin concentration, the effect of oral antidiabetic agents on leptin concentration is unknown. Differing effects can be expected, since glibenclamide acts via stimulation of insulin secretion, whereas acarbose inhibits alpha-glucosidases of the small intestine and has no direct effect on insulin levels. We examined the effect of acarbose (n = 4), glibenclamide (n = 6), and placebo (n = 6) on insulin and leptin levels during 24-h periods before and after 16 weeks of therapy.


We observed a significant diurnal variation in leptin concentrations. This was inversely related to insulin levels during the 24-h follow-up with usual diet. Neither the placebo nor acarbose altered leptin concentrations. However, glibenclamide increased leptin concentrations parallel to insulin levels. There were only minor changes in body weight during the l6-week follow-up: decrease in the placebo group (change −0.5 kg/m2, P = 0.07) and acarbose (change −0.7 kg/m2, P = 0.046) and increase in the glibenclamide group (change 0.8 kg/m2, P = 0.27). However, individual subjects who gained weight had increases in their leptin concentrations. The diurnal variation in leptin concentrations was preserved after glibenclamide.


Glibenclamide increases circadian leptin and insulin concentrations, whereas acarbose does not. This observation may help to explain weight gain in subjects treated with glibenclamide and stable weight in those treated with acarbose in the long run.

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