Characterization of the resistance to the anorectic and endocrine effects of leptin in obesity-prone and obesity-resistant rats fed a high-fat diet.J Endocrinol. 2004 Nov; 183(2):289-98.JE
Leptin produced by adipocytes controls body weight by restraining food intake and enhancing energy expenditure at the hypothalamic level. The diet-induced increase in fat mass is associated with the presence of elevated circulating leptin levels, suggesting the development of resistance to its anorectic effect. Rats, like humans, show different susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. The aim of the present study was to compare the degree of leptin resistance in obesity-prone (OP) vs obesity-resistant (OR) rats on a moderate high-fat (HF) diet and to establish if the effects of leptin on hypothalamo-pituitary endocrine functions were preserved. Starting from 6 weeks after birth, male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed on either a commercial HF diet (fat content: 20% of total calorie intake) or a standard pellet chow (CONT diet, fat content: 3%). After 12 weeks of diet, rats fed on HF diet were significantly heavier than rats fed on CONT diet. Animals fed on HF diet were ranked according to body weight; the two tails of the distribution were called OP and OR rats respectively. A polyethylene cannula was implanted into the right ventricle of rats 1 week before central leptin administration. After 12 weeks of HF feeding, both OR and OP rats were resistant to central leptin administration (10 mug, i.c.v.) (24 h calorie intake as a percent of vehicle-treated rats: CONT rats, 62 [50; 78]; OR, 93 [66; 118]; OP, 90 [70; 120] as medians and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of six rats for each group). Conversely, after 32 weeks of diet both OR and OP rats were partially responsive to 10 mug leptin i.c.v. as compared with CONT rats (24 h calorie intake as a percent of vehicle-treated rats: CONT rats, 60 [50; 67]; OR, 65 [50; 80]; OP, 80 [60; 98] as medians and 95% CIs of six rats for each group); the decrease of food intake following 200 mug leptin i.p. administration was similar in all the three groups (calorie intake as a percent of vehicle-treated rats: 86 [80; 92] as median and 95% CI). The long-term intake of HF diet caused hyperleptinemia, hyperinsulinemia and higher plasma glucose levels in OP rats as compared with CONT rats. Plasma thyroxine (T4) was lower in all the rats fed the HF diet as compared with CONT. i.c.v. administration of leptin after 32 weeks of diet restored normal insulin levels in OP rats. Moreover, leptin increased plasma T4 concentration and strongly enhanced GH mRNA expression in the pituitary of OP as well as OR rats (180+/-10% vs vehicle-treated rats). In conclusion, long-term intake of HF diet induced a partial central resistance to the anorectic effect of leptin in both lean and fat animals; the neuroendocrine effects of leptin on T4 and GH were preserved.