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Regul Pept. 2000 Aug 25;92(1-3):73-8.

Leptin is a potent stimulator of bone growth in ob/ob mice.

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Department of Metabolic Diseases, Pfizer Central Research, Eastern Point Road, 06340, Groton, CT, USA.


Leptin, the product of the obese gene, is a circulating hormone secreted primarily from adipocytes. The lack of leptin in ob/ob mice, who are homozygous for the obese gene, results in hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, hyperphagia, obesity, infertility, decreased brain size and decreased stature. To this end, we investigated the role of leptin as a hormonal regulator of bone growth. Leptin administration led to a significant increase in femoral length, total body bone area, bone mineral content and bone density in ob/ob mice as compared to vehicle treated controls. The increase in total body bone mass was a result of an increase in both trabecular and cortical bone mass. These results suggest that the decreased stature of the ob/ob mouse is due to a developmental defect that is readily reversible upon leptin administration. Our demonstration that the signalling or long form (Ob-Rb) of the leptin receptor is present in both primary adult osteoblasts and chondrocytes suggests that the growth promoting effects of leptin could be direct. In summary, these results indicate a novel role for leptin in skeletal bone growth and development.

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