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Science. 1997 Jan 3;275(5296):88-90.

Early onset of reproductive function in normal female mice treated with leptin.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, 505 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0134, USA.


Numerous studies have revealed an association between nutritional status, adiposity, and reproductive maturity. The role of leptin, a hormone secreted from adipose tissue, in the onset of reproductive function was investigated. Normal prepubertal female mice injected with leptin grew at a slower rate than controls as a result of the hormone's thinning effects, but they reproduced up to 9 days earlier than controls and showed earlier maturation of the reproductive tract. These results suggest that leptin acts as a signal triggering puberty, thus supporting the hypothesis that fat accumulation enhances maturation of the reproductive tract.

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