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PLoS One. 2008;3(10):e3466. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003466. Epub 2008 Oct 21.

Gender dimorphism in skeletal muscle leptin receptors, serum leptin and insulin sensitivity.

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Department of Physical Education, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafira s/n, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain.


To determine if there is a gender dimorphism in the expression of leptin receptors (OB-R170, OB-R128 and OB-R98) and the protein suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) in human skeletal muscle, the protein expression of OB-R, perilipin A, SOCS3 and alpha-tubulin was assessed by Western blot in muscle biopsies obtained from the m. vastus lateralis in thirty-four men (age = 27.1+/-6.8 yr) and thirty-three women (age = 26.7+/-6.7 yr). Basal serum insulin concentration and HOMA were similar in both genders. Serum leptin concentration was 3.4 times higher in women compared to men (P<0.05) and this difference remained significant after accounting for the differences in percentage of body fat or soluble leptin receptor. OB-R protein was 41% (OB-R170, P<0.05) and 163% (OB-R128, P<0.05) greater in women than men. There was no relationship between OB-R expression and the serum concentrations of leptin or 17beta-estradiol. In men, muscle OB-R128 protein was inversely related to serum free testosterone. In women, OB-R98 and OB-R128 were inversely related to total serum testosterone concentration, and OB-R128 to serum free testosterone concentration. SOCS3 protein expression was similar in men and women and was not related to OB-R. In women, there was an inverse relationship between the logarithm of free testosterone and SCOS3 protein content in skeletal muscle (r = -0.46, P<0.05). In summary, there is a gender dimorphism in skeletal muscle leptin receptors expression, which can be partly explained by the influence of testosterone. SOCS3 expression in skeletal muscle is not up-regulated in women, despite very high serum leptin concentrations compared to men. The circulating form of the leptin receptor can not be used as a surrogate measure of the amount of leptin receptors expressed in skeletal muscles.

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