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Exp Physiol. 2010 Jan;95(1):160-71. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2009.049270. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

Leptin receptor 170 kDa (OB-R170) protein expression is reduced in obese human skeletal muscle: a potential mechanism of leptin resistance.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Campus Universitario de Tafira, 35017 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Island, Spain.


To examine whether obesity-associated leptin resistance could be due to down-regulation of leptin receptors (OB-Rs) and/or up-regulation of suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) and protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) in skeletal muscle, which blunt janus kinase 2-dependent leptin signalling and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) phosphorylation and reduce AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC) phosphorylation. Deltoid and vastus lateralis muscle biopsies were obtained from 20 men: 10 non-obese control subjects (mean +/- s.d. age, 31 +/- 5 years; height, 184 +/- 9 cm; weight, 91 +/- 13 kg; and percentage body fat, 24.8 +/- 5.8%) and 10 obese (age, 30 +/- 7 years; height, 184 +/- 8 cm; weight, 115 +/- 8 kg; and percentage body fat, 34.9 +/- 5.1%). Skeletal muscle OB-R170 (OB-R long isoform) protein expression was 28 and 25% lower (both P < 0.05) in arm and leg muscles, respectively, of obese men compared with control subjects. In normal-weight subjects, SOCS3 protein expression, and STAT3, AMPKalpha and ACCbeta phosphorylation, were similar in the deltoid and vastus lateralis muscles. In obese subjects, the deltoid muscle had a greater amount of leptin receptors than the vastus lateralis, whilst SOCS3 protein expression was increased and basal STAT3, AMPKalpha and ACCbeta phosphorylation levels were reduced in the vastus lateralis compared with the deltoid muscle (all P < 0.05). In summary, skeletal muscle leptin receptors and leptin signalling are reduced in obesity, particularly in the leg muscles.

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