Voluntary wheel running decreases adipose tissue mass and expression of leptin inRNA in Osborne-Mendel rats

Jeffrey J. Zachwieja, Stephen L. Hendry, Steven R. Smith, Ruth B.S. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of voluntary wheel running on the expression of leptin mRNA in rats that are either sensitive (OM) or resistant (S5B/Pl) to diet-induced obesity. Male OM and S5B/Pl rats had ad libitum access to standard rodent diet and water. At 3-5 weeks of age, animals of both strains were randomly assigned to either an exercise or sedentary control group. The exercise groups had 24-h access to a running wheel, and they trained for 7 weeks. During weeks 1-4, animals in both OM and S5B/Pl exercise groups progressively increased their running. During weeks 5- 7, S5B/Pl exercisers tended to run more than did OM (~60 vs. 45 km/week), but by the end of the study both groups had an equally greater heart weight (mg/g body weight) and planteris citrate synthase activity than their sedentary controls. Oral glucose tolerance tests performed during the last week of training revealed that compared with their appropriate controls, insulin sensitivity was enhanced (P < 0.05) in OM but not in the SSB/Pl wheel-running groups. Inguinal, epididymal, and retroperitoneal fat pads weighed less in the running than in the nonrunning groups of both strains (P < 0.01). Additionally, exercised animals had an increased percentage of smaller cells (40-60 μm; P < 0.05) and a decreased percentage of larger cells (120-160 μm; P < 0.05) in the epididymal fat depot. Epididymal leptin mRNA measured by Northern blot analysis was reduced in the exercise-trained rats of both strains (P < 0.05). Furthermore, serum leptin was reduced in exercise-trained compared with the control animals of both strains. In comparison to S5B/Pl, control OM animals exhibited both a higher expression and higher circulating levels of leptin (P < 0.05). While serum leptin levels were decreased and food intake was increased in the exercise-trained animals of both strains (P < 0.05), the exact relationship between exercise, leptin, and food intake in this rat model of dietary obesity remains to be determined. Nonetheless, these results suggest that the expression and secretion of leptin can be influenced by exercise training and that these changes (i.e., reduced expression and secretion of protein) can occur independently of changes in whole-body insulin sensitivity and susceptibility to diet-induced obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1159-1166
Number of pages8
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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