OBJECTIVE - Initiation and intensification of insulin therapy commonly causes weight gain, a barrier to therapy. A contrasting body of evidence indicates that insulin functions as an adiposity negative feedback signal and reduces food intake, weight gain and adiposity via action in the central nervous system. Basal insulin analogs, detemir (Det) and glargine (Glar), have been associated with less hypoglycemia compared with neutral protamine hagedorn insulin, and Det with less weight gain, especially in patients with higher body mass index (BMI). We sought to determine whether insulin therapy per se causes body weight and fat mass gain when delivered via a clinically relevant subcutaneous (SC) route in the absence of hypoglycemia and glycosuria in non-diabetic lean and diet-induced obese rats.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - Rats were exposed to either a low-fat diet (LFD; 13.5% fat) or high-fat diet (HFD; 60% fat), and received Det (0.5 U kg(-1)), Glar (0.2 U kg(-1)) or vehicle (Veh) SC once daily for 4 weeks. These dosages of insulin were equipotent in rats with respect to blood-glucose concentration and did not induce hypoglycemia.
RESULTS - As predicted by current models of energy homeostasis, neither insulin Det nor Glar therapy affected food intake and weight gain in LFD rats. Det treatment significantly attenuated food intake, body weight gain and fat mass gain relative to the Glar and Veh in high-fat fed animals, mirroring observations in humans.
CONCLUSIONS - That neither insulin group gained excess weight, suggests weight gain with SC basal insulin therapy may not be inevitable. Our data further suggest that Det possesses a unique property to attenuate the development of obesity associated with a HFD.