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Endocrinology. 1997 Mar;138(3):1190-3.

Leptin treatment rescues the sterility of genetically obese ob/ob males.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0134, USA.


Leptin, a hormone secreted from white adipose tissue, has been shown to normalize the body weight of ob/ob but not db/db mice as postulated by Coleman in his classical parabiosis experiments. The major effect of leptin is therefore to decrease food intake, thus resulting in a breakdown of fat stores. Recently, we have suggested that leptin plays a role in reproductive physiology based on the observation that leptin treatment but not food restriction rescues the sterility of ob/ob females. In the present communication, we treated sterile ob/ob males with leptin and asked whether fertility could be induced, thus selecting their reproductive ability as the endpoint of the experiment. Our results show that all food-restricted ob/ob males are unable to impregnate normal C57BL/6J females. However, all leptin-treated ob/ob males fertilized normal females mice that carried out normal pregnancies and deliveries, demonstrating that the reproductive capacity of ob/ob males was corrected only with leptin treatment. Furthermore, reproductive indices such as testicular weight and histology are normalized in leptin-treated animals. Therefore, as in ob/ob females, leptin plays a significant role in the male mouse reproductive pathways.

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