An acute method to test leptin responsiveness in rats

Bhavna N. Desai, Ruth B.S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Continuous subcutaneous administration of leptin normalizes blood glucose levels in rodent models of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes independent of changes in food intake, body weight, and plasma insulin. We tested whether an acute intravenous leptin infusion changed blood glucose in normal and diet-induced leptin-resistant rats to determine whether this measure could be used as a marker of leptin sensitivity. Leptin-responsive chow-fed rats and diet-induced leptin-resistant male Sprague-Dawley rats were fitted with thoracic jugular vein catheters. Four days after surgery, conscious rats were infused intravenously with either saline for 32 min, low-dose (LD) leptin (1.9 μg·kg-1·min-1) followed by high-dose (HD) leptin (3.8 μg·kg-1·min-1) for 16 min each, or only HD leptin for 16 min. There was no change in blood glucose after an acute intravenous infusion of either LD leptin or HD leptin alone for 16 min. An intravenous infusion of LD followed by HD leptin for 16 min each significantly decreased serum glucose in leptin-responsive rats but not in leptin-resistant rats. Leptin infusions increased serum leptin in all rat groups but had no effect on plasma glucagon or 12-h weight gain and energy intake in any group of rats. These results show that leptin has an acute glucose-lowering effect that reflects the leptin responsiveness of the rat. This effect is consistent across controls and different leptin-resistant rat models, and the acute nonlethal test provides a novel method of testing leptin responsiveness in rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R852-R860
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood glucose
  • Leptin infusion
  • Leptin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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