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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2003 Apr 28;202(1-2):185-9.

The role of leptin during the development of mouse preimplantation embryos.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Akita University School of Medicine, Hondo 1-1-1, Akita 010-8543, Japan.


Leptin is known to regulate diverse reproductive functions, and recent studies have implicated involvement of leptin in the early mouse embryo development. The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression of leptin and its functional receptor (OB-Rb) in mouse oocyte and preimplantation embryo, and to examine whether leptin influenced the early embryo development. Leptin mRNA was detected in blastocyst and hatched blastocyst, and OB-Rb mRNA was detected in oocytes, 1-cell, 2-cell, morula, blastocyst and hatched blastocyst. As for the origin of leptin, leptin mRNA was identified in both the oviduct and uterus of the pregnant mouse. Furthermore, in the pregnant mouse, the levels of leptin in uterine fluid were higher than those in the non-pregnant mouse. Supplementation of culture medium with leptin promotes the development of preimplantation embryos from 2-cell stage to the blastocysts, fully expanded blastocysts and hatched blastocysts. Leptin significantly increased the total cell number of blastocysts, and the effect was preferentially observed in the trophectoderm. These findings raise the possibility that leptin regulates the development of mouse preimplantation embryo through a paracrine pathway.

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