The possible role of leucine in modulating glucose homeostasis under distinct catabolic conditions

Nelo Eidy Zanchi, Lucas Guimarães-Ferreira, Mário Alves Siqueira-Filho, João Paulo Gabriel Camporez, Humberto Nicastro, Daniela Fojo Seixas Chaves, Patrícia Campos-Ferraz, Antonio Herbert Lancha, Carla Roberta de Oliveira Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) (especially leucine) have been shown to activate protein synthesis pathways, decrease proteolysis and increase insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, it appears that leucine can be used as a nutritional therapy to avoid sarcopenia and skeletal muscle atrophy due to immobilization or glucocorticoid treatment. However, it is of note that all of these conditions are related to insulin resistance to varying degrees and affect different tissues, particularly skeletal muscle. Additionally, evidence from recent studies demonstrate that a combination of protein containing high levels of leucine with nutrients containing saturated fatty acids or an excess of leucine are capable of inducing insulin resistance. From this discussion, a few major questions arise. First, what is the role of a combination of macronutrients in inducing insulin resistance? Second, in insulin resistance, does leucine supplementation follow the same path observed under healthy conditions? Finally, what are the dose-dependent outcome and the latency of leucine effect under such conditions? The present article discusses these questions based on data from the literature and experiments performed by our group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-8
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Issue number6
Early online date16 Oct 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open access under the Elsevier OA license.


  • Dexamethasone/administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins/administration & dosage
  • Glucose/metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leucine/metabolism
  • Models, Theoretical


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