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Metabolism. 2000 Nov;49(11):1479-84.

Leptin resistance is associated with hypothalamic leptin receptor mRNA and protein downregulation.

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Department of Pharmacodynamics, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610, USA.


It is well known that leptin plays a predominant role in body weight regulation. Leptin receptors are especially abundant in the hypothalamus, where the majority of leptin's biologic activity occurs. In instances where leptin has no or limited activity, it is easy to implicate leptin resistance and speculate as to the multiple levels where resistance may occur. We hypothesize that leptin resistance is associated with hypothalamic leptin receptor downregulation. Rats were randomly divided into 3 groups receiving phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or low- or high-dose leptin continually over a 28-day period. Body weight and food intake were measured daily. Long-term leptin treatment resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in body weight for the duration of the study. It also resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in food intake, but only for the first half of the study. A test of leptin resistance was performed at week 3 demonstrating the development of resistance to the anorectic effects of leptin in both treatment groups. The results of the resistance test together with the food intake data suggest that resistance to the appetite-regulating effects of leptin developed during the final 2 weeks of the study. In addition, we show a downregulation of leptin receptor mRNA and protein in the hypothalamus, which may be one of the mechanisms by which the food-intake effects of leptin were lost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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