Nutrient sensing: LEAP2 concentration in response to fasting, glucose, lactate, and β-hydroxybutyrate in healthy young males

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The appetite-suppressing potential of liver-expressed antimicrobial peptide 2 (LEAP2), and its antagonistic effects on the hunger-inducing hormone ghrelin have attracted scientific interest. It is unclear how LEAP2 is influenced by fasting and how it responds to specific nutrients.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this investigation was to assess whether LEAP2 concentration 1) decreases after fasting, 2) increases postprandially, and 3) is regulated by nutrient sensing in the splanchnic bed.

METHODS: Plasma LEAP2 concentration was measured in blood samples from 5 clinical cross-over trials, following 1) 36 h of fasting (n = 8), 2) 10 h of fasting (n = 37, baseline data pooled from 4 of the clinical trials), 3) Oral and intravenous glucose administration (n = 11), 4) Oral and intravenous Na-lactate administration (n = 10), and 5) Oral and intravenous Na-β-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) administration (n = 8). All 5 trials included healthy males.

RESULTS: Compared with a 10-h fasting period, the median LEAP2 concentration was 38% lower following 36 h of fasting (P < 0.001). Oral administration of glucose elevated, whereas intravenous glucose administration lowered LEAP2 concentration (intervention x time, P = 0.001), resulting in a mean difference of 9 ng/mL (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1, 17) after 120 min. Oral lactate increased, and intravenous lactate decreased LEAP2 (intervention x time, P = 0.007), with a mean difference between interventions of 10 ng/mL (95% CI: 6, 15) after 120 min. In contrast, oral and intravenous administration of BHB reduced the LEAP2 concentration (main effect of time, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Our investigations show that LEAP2 concentration was lower after a 36-h fast than an overnight fast and that oral delivery of glucose and lactate elevated LEAP2 concentration compared with intravenous administration, whereas LEAP2 concentrations decreased with both oral and intravenous BHB. This indicates that the LEAP2 concentration is sensitive to intestinal exposure to specific substrates, highlighting the need for future studies exploring the relationship between nutrients and LEAP2. This trial was registered at as NCT01840098, NCT03204877, NCT04299815, NCT03935841, and NCT01705782.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Pages (from-to)1091-1098
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • appetite
  • ghrelin
  • ketones
  • lactate
  • LEAP2
  • Fasting
  • Lactic Acid
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Glucose
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • Hunger
  • Ghrelin


Dive into the research topics of 'Nutrient sensing: LEAP2 concentration in response to fasting, glucose, lactate, and β-hydroxybutyrate in healthy young males'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this