Changes in environmental temperature influence leptin responsiveness in low- and high-fat-fed mice

Ruth B.S. Harris, Tiffany D. Mitchell, Emily W. Kelso, W. P. Flatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Loss of body fat in leptin-treated animals has been attributed to reduced energy intake, increased thermogenesis, and preferential fatty acid oxidation. Leptin does not decrease food intake or body fat in leptin-resistant high-fat (HF)-fed mice, possibly due to a failure of leptin to activate hypothalamic receptors. We measured energy expenditure of male C57BL/6 mice adapted to low-fat (LF) or HF diet and infused them for 13 days with PBS or 10 μg leptin/day from an intraperitoneal miniosmotic pump to test whether leptin resistance prevented leptin-induced increases in energy expenditure and fatty acid oxidation. There was no effect of low-dose leptin infusions on either of these measures in LF-fed or HF-fed mice, even though LF-fed mice lost body fat. Experiment 2 tested leptin responsiveness in LF-fed and HF-fed mice housed at different temperatures (18°C, 23°C, 27°C), assuming that the cold would increase and the hot environment would inhibit food intake and thermogenesis, which could potentially interfere with leptin action. LF-fed mice housed at 23°C were the only mice that lost body fat during leptin infusion, suggesting that an ability to modify energy expenditure is essential to the maintenance of leptin responsiveness. HF-fed mice in cold or warm environments did not respond to leptin. HF-fed mice in the hot environment were fatter than other HF-fed mice, and, surprisingly, leptin caused a further increase in body fat, demonstrating that the mice were not totally leptin resistant and that partial leptin resistance in a hot environment favors positive energy balance and fat deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R106-R115
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Body fat content
  • Calorimetry
  • Leptin resistance
  • Respiratory exchange ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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