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Diabetics May Hold Key to Fighting Severe Lung Disease

Resistance to leptin may offer lung disease protection in type II diabetics

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February 15, 2011 | by Erin White
CHICAGO --- Type II diabetes may come with an unexpected health benefit, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine. Resistance to leptin, a protein that helps regulate metabolism and appetite, may prevent type II diabetics from developing severe lung disease. The study indicates leptin resistance may help prevent the formation of inflexible, fibrous tissue that develops in acute respiratory distress syndrome and acute lung injury.

The study was published online February 11 in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Based on the results of this study in mice, therapies might be developed to prevent or lessen the severity of lung diseases in humans by increasing leptin resistance, said Gökhan M. Mutlu, M.D., associate professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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Topics: Research