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Brain Res. 2000 Sep 1;875(1-2):89-95.

Leptin receptor, NPY, POMC mRNA expression in the diet-induced obese mouse brain.

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Metabolic Research Center, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia.


A high fat diet leads to progressive development of obesity and leptin resistance in C57 mice with a middle stage of peripheral, but not central, leptin resistance. This stage is characterized by increased fat accumulation despite relative hypophagia. At a later stage central leptin resistance ensues along with hyperphagia, rapid weight and fat gain. The aim of this study is to characterize the mRNA levels of leptin receptor (LR), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) in high fat (HFF) and low fat (LFF) fed groups of mice. The hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (Arc) was investigated, as was the choroid plexus (ChP) in the case of the leptin receptor. No differences between groups were seen in LR, NPY or POMC mRNA levels after 1 week of feeding. After 8 and 19 weeks, the HFF mice, compared to LFF controls, demonstrated a +45% (P<0. 003) and +84% (P<0.0001) increase in the ratio of visceral fat to body weight and +223% (P<0.0001) and +468% (P<0.0001) elevation in plasma leptin levels, respectively. At 8 weeks, LR mRNA expression showed a +98% (P<0.016) and +66% (P<0.0001) increase in ChP and Arc, respectively, while Arc NPY mRNA showed down-regulation by -45% (P<0. 006). Arc POMC mRNA showed no significant changes between groups at 8 weeks. However, after long-term (19 weeks) feeding, the HFF mice displayed significantly -26% (P<0.039) and -33% (P<0.0015) reduced LR mRNA in the ChP and Arc, respectively, with Arc POMC and NPY mRNAs down by -55% (P<0.004) and -32% (P<0.009), respectively. The present results suggest that in the middle stage of development of high fat-induced obesity, when central leptin sensitivity is maintained, the increased leptin receptor expression may play a role to defend against obesity which is overwhelmed as central leptin insensitivity develops. In this later stage the down-regulation of the POMC system may be important in the final breakdown of weight homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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