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Am J Physiol. 1998 Sep;275(3 Pt 1):E495-9.

Plasma leptin concentrations are only transiently increased in nephrectomized rats.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Leptin is an adipocyte-secreted hormone that has effects on appetite and energy expenditure. Several studies have shown that end-stage renal disease results in elevated plasma leptin concentrations and that the kidney is responsible for most of leptin elimination in rodents. Leptin metabolism was investigated in rats that underwent unilateral nephrectomy to experimentally limit renal elimination function. Within 4 h of nephrectomy, plasma leptin concentrations increased from 2.9 +/- 0.8 to 5.8 +/- 1.0 & microg/l but thereafter rapidly (<24 h) decreased to prenephrectomy concentrations, despite continued elevated plasma creatinine levels. Sham-operated rats maintained presurgical concentrations of leptin and creatinine throughout the experiment. Kinetic studies of 125I-labeled leptin elimination showed that fractional catabolic rates and half-lives of leptin in circulation were similar at 48 h in nephrectomized and sham-operated rats, suggesting that production of leptin was unchanged after nephrectomy. Excretion of 125I derived from leptin in urine of nephrectomized rats was similar to that of sham-operated rats, and residual radioactivity was increased in the remaining kidneys excised from nephrectomized rats. These results demonstrate that 1) leptin concentrations are quickly restored to presurgical levels in nephrectomized rats, and 2) it is leptin elimination, not leptin production, that compensates to maintain leptin concentrations. Rapid metabolic adaptation of remaining renal tissue may explain the restoration of normal leptin elimination in nephrectomized rats.

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