Sex-associated differences in the leptin and ghrelin systems related with the induction of hyperphagia under high-fat diet exposure in rats.Horm Behav. 2009 Jan; 55(1):33-40.HB
Leptin and ghrelin are known to be main hormones involved in the control of food intake, with opposing effects. Here we have explored whether changes in the leptin and ghrelin system are involved in the long-term effects of high-fat (HF) diet feeding in rats and whether sex-associated differences exist. Male and female Wistar rats were fed until the age of 6 months with a normal-fat (NF) or an HF-diet. Food intake and body weight were followed. Gastric and serum levels of leptin and ghrelin, and mRNA levels of leptin (in stomach and adipose tissue), ghrelin (in stomach), and NPY, POMC, and leptin and ghrelin receptors (OB-Rb and GHS-R) (in the hypothalamus) were measured. In both males and females, total caloric intake and body weight were greater under the HF-diet feeding. In females, circulating ghrelin levels and leptin mRNA expression in the stomach were higher under HF-diet. HF-diet feeding also resulted in higher hypothalamic NPY/POMC mRNA levels, more marked in females, and in lower OB-Rb mRNA levels, more marked in males. In addition, in females, serum ghrelin levels correlated positively with hypothalamic NPY mRNA levels, and these with caloric intake. In males, hypothalamic OB-Rb mRNA levels correlated positively with POMC mRNA levels and these correlated negatively with caloric intake and with body weight. These data reflect differences between sexes in the effects of HF-diet feeding on food intake control systems, suggesting an impairment of the anorexigenic leptin-POMC system in males and an over-stimulation of the orexigenic ghrelin-NPY system in females.