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Endocrinology. 2008 Mar;149(3):1049-55. Epub 2007 Dec 6.

Induction of central leptin resistance in hyperphagic pseudopregnant rats by chronic prolactin infusion.

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Centre for Neuroendocrinology and Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Pregnancy in rats is associated with hyperphagia, increased fat deposition, and elevated plasma leptin concentrations. Elevated leptin would be expected to inhibit food intake, but hypothalamic leptin resistance develops around midpregnancy, allowing hyperphagia to be maintained and excess energy to be stored as fat in preparation for future metabolic demands of lactation. To investigate the hormonal mechanisms inducing leptin resistance during pregnancy, the anorectic response to leptin was examined during pseudopregnancy. Pseudopregnant rats have identical hormonal profiles to early pregnancy, but no placenta formation, allowing differentiation of maternal and placental hormone effects on appetite. To investigate the effect of leptin on food intake, d-9 pseudopregnant rats were injected with leptin (4 microg) via an intracerebroventricular (icv) cannula, and then food intake was measured 24 h later. Pseudopregnant rats were hyperphagic but had normal anorectic responses to leptin. We therefore hypothesized that a longer exposure time to high concentrations of progesterone might be required to mimic the leptin resistance that occurs on d 14 of pregnancy. Pseudopregnant rats were given progesterone to prolong pseudopregnancy beyond the time that leptin resistance develops during pregnancy. However, rats remained responsive to icv leptin. To model the placental lactogen secretion that occurs during pregnancy, pseudopregnant rats were given progesterone and chronic icv ovine prolactin infusion. Central icv injection of leptin had no effect on food intake in pseudopregnant rats receiving chronic ovine prolactin. These results suggest that chronically high lactogen levels, secreted by the placenta during the second half of pregnancy, induce central leptin resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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