Leptin-induced increase in body fat content of rats

Ruth B.S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We previously reported that peripheral leptin infusions in chronically decrebrate rats, in which the forebrain is neurally isolated from the hindbrain, increased body fat and decreased energy expenditure. Any central leptin response in decerebrate rats would depend upon the hindbrain. Here, we tested whether selective activation of hindbrain leptin receptors increased body fat. Fourth ventricle infusion of 0.6 μg leptin/day for 12 days increased body fat by 13% with no increase in food intake. Third ventricle leptin infusions decreased food intake, body fat, and lean tissue with a maximal response at 0.3 μg leptin/day. To test whether hindbrain receptors opposed activity of hypothalamic receptors, rats received peripheral infusions of 40 (μ leptin/day and increasing 4th ventricle doses of the leptin receptor antagonist mutein protein. Mutein (3.0 μg/day) reduced body fat in PBS-infused rats to the same level as leptin-infused rats and reduced lean tissue in all rats. Leptin, but not mutein, inhibited food intake. By contrast, 3.0 (μ/day mutein in the 3rd ventricle increased food intake and body fat in both PBS- and leptin-infused rats. In basal conditions, hindbrain leptin receptors may antagonize activity of fore-brain receptors to protect lean and fat tissue, but there is no evidence for an anabolic role for hindbrain receptors when leptin is elevated. In a dietary study, rats increased energy intake when offered lard and 30% sucrose solution in addition to chow. Peripheral leptin infusion exaggerated the gain in body fat without altering energy intake confirming the potential for leptin to increase adiposity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E267-E281
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Body composition
  • Forebrain
  • Hindbrain
  • Mutein leptin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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