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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2013 Dec;305(11):R1268-80. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00162.2013. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Influence of abnormally high leptin levels during pregnancy on metabolic phenotypes in progeny mice.

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Laboratory of Physiological Genetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia.


Maternal obesity increases the risk of obesity in offspring, and obesity is accompanied by an increase in blood leptin levels. The "yellow" mutation at the mouse agouti locus (A(y)) increases blood leptin levels in C57BL preobese pregnant mice without affecting other metabolic characteristics. We investigated the influence of the A(y) mutation or leptin injection at the end of pregnancy in C57BL mice on metabolic phenotypes and the susceptibility to diet-induced obesity (DIO) in offspring. In both C57BL-A(y) and leptin-treated mice, the maternal effect was more pronounced in male offspring. Compared with males born to control mothers, males born to A(y) mothers displayed equal food intake (FI) but decreased body weight (BW) gain after weaning, equal glucose tolerance, and enhanced FI-to-BW ratios on the standard diet but the same FI and BW on the high-fat diet. Males born to A(y) mothers were less responsive to the anorectic effect of exogenous leptin and less resistant to fasting (were not hyperphagic and gained less weight during refeeding after food deprivation) compared with males born to control mothers. However, all progeny displayed equal hypothalamic expression of Agouti gene-related protein (AgRP), neuropeptide Y (NPY), and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and equal plasma leptin and glucose levels after food deprivation. Leptin injections in C57BL mice on day 17 of pregnancy decreased BW in both male and female offspring but inhibited FI and DIO only in male offspring. Our results show that hyperleptinemia during pregnancy has sex-specific long-term effects on energy balance regulation in progeny and does not predispose offspring to developing obesity.


developmental programming; high-fat diet; leptin; mice; pregnancy

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