Leonid Poretsky

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Leonid Poretsky
Poretsky Leonid 1956.jpg
Born August 7, 1954
Leningrad, USSR
Residence New York, United States
Education St. Petersburg Medical University
Beth Israel Hospital, Boston
Harvard Medical School
Occupation Physician, endocrinologist
Years active 1977–present
Employer Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Beth Israel Medical Center, New York
Organization Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute

Dr. Leonid Poretsky (born August 7, 1954) is a Russian-born American endocrinologist. His research interests include mechanisms of insulin action in the ovary,[1] endocrinological aspects of AIDS,[2] and clinical outcomes in diabetes. He has authored over 100 publications and has served on the National Institutes of Health's review committees and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and other endocrine journals.[3]

As of 2013 he is a professor of medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Beth Israel Medical Center. He is also director of the Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel.[3]

Early life, career[edit]

Leonid Poretsky was born on August 7, 1954 in Leningrad, USSR.[3] His mother, Nina, was a prominent pediatrician from Bobruisk, Belarus who lived and worked in Leningrad.[4] His father was an engineer.[5] Poretsky graduated from First (Pavlov) Medical Institute in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg State Medical University), cum laude in 1977.[3]

He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1979,[4] and upon completing his internal medicine residency program, he began a fellowship in endocrinology and metabolism at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital (now Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center). He also completed a research fellowship in medicine at Harvard Medical School (1983–1985), where he was mentored by Dr. Jeffrey Flier.[3]

Poretsky has taught medicine in and around New York City since 1985, at institutions such as the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York Medical College, Cornell University Medical College and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.[3]

Beth Israel Medical Center[edit]

In addition to being the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Poretsky serves as Vice-Chairman for Research in the Department of Medicine and holds the Gerald J. Friedman endowed chair in endocrinology and metabolism at Beth Israel Medical Center.[3]

Gerald J. Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel is an education, clinical management and research program focused on diabetes which requires no insurance or physician referral. At the institute Poretsky chairs the annual Friedman Fellows Symposia, which present the work of fellows from around the US supported by The Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman New York Foundation for Medical Research.[3]

Poretsky has regularly appeared in the New York Times Magazine Best Doctors List and the U.S. News & World Report Best Doctors List.[6]


Medical texts[edit]

Poretsky has authored over 100 publications, and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,[3] Journal of Diabetes, and other publications.[6]

He contributed to and edited the comprehensive textbook Principles of Diabetes Mellitus, which has been widely cited,[7] and has gone through two editions (2002[8] and 2010). The book covers a wide range of topics on diabetes.[7]

In 2012 he edited Diabetes Mellitus: A Concise Clinical Guide, which covers "the basics of diagnosis, complications, therapies and prevention of diabetes." The book consists of sections originally published in the second edition of Principles of Diabetes Mellitus.[9]

Public policy[edit]

Poretsky has been vocal in the media about how health care policy can affect patient care. In the 1990s he wrote a letter to the editor of New York Times concerning how Medicaid payment caps can limit physicians' availability to patients.[10] In July 2012 he wrote an op-ed for Forbes which drew negative comparisons between the bureaucratic behavior of the American healthcare system and that of the Soviet Union's politburo, which he says "collapsed under the weight of its own bureaucratic inefficiencies two decades ago."[11]

In 2013 he published a letter in the Wall Street Journal talking about inadequate methods used by the government to assess hospital performance[12] and a letter regarding policy changes needed to reduce hospital readmissions.[13]

Notable research[edit]

Insulin in the human ovary[edit]

While working as a research fellow in the early 1980s, Poretsky became known for discovering, describing and characterizing insulin receptors in the human ovary.[14]

Before his research, the hormone insulin had been known to primarily regulate glucose and other fuel metabolism in the liver, fat, and muscle.[14] His work established the ovary as a target for regulation by insulin, and introduced a new paradigm for the gonadotropic function of insulin.[15]

Poretsky had initially been researching the causes of hyperandrogenism (high level of male hormones and male features in females) in patients with extreme forms of insulin resistance, for example in people with insulin receptor gene mutations.[14] Subsequently, Poretsky’s work became important for understanding more common disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects up to 10% of reproductive age women and is associated with infertility and diabetes.[16] Poretsky’s work helped lead to the use of insulin-sensitizing agents in patients with PCOS.[17]

Poretsky and his coworkers also characterized related receptors in the ovary (insulin-like growth factor receptors,[18] peroxisome-proliferator[19][20] activated receptor-gamma),[3] and he conceptualized an insulin-related ovarian regulatory system.[1]

Most recently, he wrote an invited editorial for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the role of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in metabolic disease.[21]


Another line of Poretsky's research involved endocrine manifestations of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and includes an early review of endocrinological dysfunction in AIDS patients.[3][22]

Additionally, in 1987 Poretsky was a key member of the team which described a condition called hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism, which is characterized by deficiency of adrenal hormone aldosterone, in patients with AIDS. This discovery resulted in introduction of treatment with fludrocortisone, which proved to be extremely effective and almost immediately converted most patients with this condition from being unable to stand (because of a severe drop in blood pressure upon standing) to being mobile and more functional.[2]

Poretsky was also key in first describing a type of inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis) which is caused by an opportunistic infection of the thyroid gland by an organism which previously was known to infect only the lungs of patients with AIDS.[23]

More recently, he has studied the adrenal hormones cortisol[24] and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)[25][26][27][28] in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).[24]


  1. ^ a b Poretsky L, Cataldo N, Rosenwaks Z, Guidice L. "Insulin-related ovarian regulatory system in health and disease." Endocrine Reviews 20:535-582, 1999.
  2. ^ a b "Hyporeninemic hypoaldosteronism associated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.". AM J Med. May 1987. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Leonid Poretsky: CV". Friedman Diabetes Insitutute. May 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Nina Poretsky M.D.". The New York Times. March 2, 2004. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Deaths: Ruvim Poretsky". The New York Times. June 18, 2006. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  6. ^ a b "Dr. Leonid Poretsky". Friedman Diabetes Institute. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  7. ^ a b editor, Leonid Poretsky, (2010). Principles of diabetes mellitus (2nd ed. ed.). New York: Springer. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-387-09840-1. 
  8. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (2002). Principles of Diabetes Mellitus. Springer. p. 20. ISBN 1402071140. 
  9. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (2012). Diabetes Mellitus: A Concise Clinical Guide. Springer. ISBN 9781461457077. 
  10. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (July 3, 1990). "A Medicaid Proposal". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  11. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (July 3, 2012). "Stop the Sovietization of American Medicine". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  12. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (April 19, 2013). "Physician, Hear Thyself—Why Communication Matters". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  13. ^ Poretsky, Leonid (May 20, 2013). "Readmissions Often Aren't Culpable Acts". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  14. ^ a b c Poretsky L, Smith D, Seibel M, Pazianos A, Moses AC, Flier JS. "Specific insulin binding sites in human ovary." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 59:809-811, 1984
  15. ^ Poretsky L, Kalin M. The gonadotropic function of insulin. Endocrine Reviews 8:132-141, 1987.
  16. ^ Poretsky L. "Polycystic ovary syndrome: Increased or preserved ovarian sensitivity to insulin?" J Clin Endocrinol Metab 91:2859-2860, 2006
  17. ^ Bloomgarden Z, Futterweit W, Poretsky L. "Use of insulin sensitizing agents in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome." Endocrine Practice 7:279-286, 2001.
  18. ^ Poretsky L, Grigorescu F, Moses AC, Flier JS. "Distribution and characterization of the insulin and IGF-1 receptors in the human ovary." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 61:728-734, 1985.
  19. ^ Seto-Young D, Paliou M, Schlosser J, Avtanski D, Park A, Patel P, Holcomb K, Chang P, Poretsky L. "Thiazolidinedione action in the human ovary: direct effects on steroidogenesis and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1) production." J Clin Endocrinol Metab 90:6099-6105, 2005
  20. ^ Seto-Young D, Avtanski D, Parikh G, Suwandhi P, Strizhevsky M, Araki T, Rosenwaks Z, Poretsky L. "Rosiglitazone and pioglitazone inhibit estrogen synthesis in human granulosa cells by interfering with androgen binding to aromatase." Horm Metab Res 43:250-256, 2011.
  21. ^ Poretsky L. "Looking beyond overnutrition for causes of epidemic metabolic disease." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 39:15537-15538, 2012
  22. ^ Poretsky L, Maran A, Zumoff B. "Endocrinological and metabolic manifestations of AIDS." Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine 57:236-241, 1990.
  23. ^ Battan R, Mariuz P, Raviglione MD, Sabatini MT, Mullen MP, Poretsky L. "Pneumocystitis carinii infection of the thyroid in a hypothyroid patient with AIDS: Diagnosis by fine needle aspiration biopsy." J Clin ENdocrinol Metab 72:724-726, 1991.
  24. ^ a b Stolyarczyk R, Rubio S, Smolyar D, Young I, Poretsky L (June 1998). "24 hr urinary free cortisol in patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.". Metabolism (47:690-694). Retrieved 2013-03-12. 
  25. ^ Poretsky L, Brillon DJ, Ferrando S, Chiu J, McElhiney M, Ferenczi A, Sison CP, Haller I, Rabkin J. "Endocrine effects of oral dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in men with HIV infection: A prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial." Metabolism 55:858-870, 2006.
  26. ^ Romero CM, Liao EP, Zumoff B, Poretsky L. "Dehydroepianrosterone (DHEA) in Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Prognostic and Therapeutic Aspects." In: DHEA in Human Health and Aging, pp 195-205. R. Watson, Ed., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2011.
  27. ^ Smolyar D, Landman R, Poretsky L, Young I. "Comparison of 1 ug and 250 ug ACTH stimulation tests for he evaluation of adrenal function in patients with AIDS." Metabolism 52:647-651, 2003.
  28. ^ Poretsky L, Song L, Brillon DJ, Ferrando S, Chiu J, McElhiney M, Ferenczi A, Sison C, Haller I, Rabkin J. "Metabolic and hormonal effects of oral DHEA in premenopausal women with HIV infection." Hormone and Metabolic Research 41:244-249, 2009.

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