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FASEB J. 2005 Jun;19(8):1048-50. Epub 2005 Mar 23.

Hepatic leptin signaling in obesity.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.

Erratum in

  • FASEB J. 2013 May;27(5):2080-1.


Obesity, a state of apparent "leptin resistance" is well known to be associated with insulin resistance. In diet-induced obesity (DIO), hepatic insulin signaling is impaired but the link between leptin and insulin signaling pathways is only incompletely defined. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of DIO on leptin and insulin cross-signaling in the liver. Leptin receptor expression was measured by in situ hybridization with pan-leptin receptor probes and by immunoblotting. Furthermore, intracellular signaling was investigated in vivo under basal conditions and at 45 and 360 min after stimulation with a bolus of human recombinant leptin (hrec-leptin; 1 mg/kg body wt) or saline. At baseline, all forms of the leptin receptor were markedly to completely down-regulated in DIO rats. Hrec-leptin bolus injection stimulated leptin-dependent signaling with a fivefold increase in JAK-2pY in lean but not in DIO rats. Basal IRpY, IRS-1pY, IRS-1p85, IRS-2pY, IRSp85, and PKBpT308 levels were reduced (P<0.01) in DIO rats as compared with lean controls. Basal GSK-3beta serine phosphorylation (S9) was higher (P<0.01) in lean animals along with lower basal PEPCK activity compared with DIO rats consistent with the insulin and leptin resistance of the latter. Only in lean animals phosphorylation of PKB (T308) and GSK-3beta (S9) was acutely stimulated by leptin at 45 min followed by inhibition at 6 h after application. AMPKalpha protein levels as well as basal and leptin-stimulated total and alpha-specific AMPK activity were comparable in both groups. These data show that in a model of dietary-induced obesity 1) leptin receptors and subsequent signaling events are down-regulated, 2) basal insulin signaling is impaired, and 3) the cross-talk between leptin and insulin signaling is differentially regulated by the nutritional status, which is sensed by AMPK in rat liver. Thus, the liver seems to play a major role in the modulation of the leptin signal and insulin resistance in obesity.

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