Circulating concentrations of leptin in sheep correlate with body fatness and are affected by level of food intake and photoperiod. The present objective was to elucidate the short-term dynamics of leptin secretion. Frequent blood samples were taken over 48 h from 12 Soay rams after 16 weeks in short-day photoperiod (SD, 16 h darkness:8 h light) with freely available food, and then after 16 weeks in long days (16 h light:8 h darkness) with food freely available (LD) or restricted to 90% maintenance (LDR) (n=6/ group). During the second 24 h of sampling, half were food deprived (,n=6, SD and LD) and half had their meal times shifted (n=6, SD and LDR). A homologous RIA was developed, using antibodies raised in chicken against recombinant ovine leptin, to measure plasma concentrations. Simultaneous 24 h profiles of plasma insulin, glucose and non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) were measured. Plasma leptin was higher in LD than SD, and in LD than LDR, associated with higher food intake, liveweight and body condition score (adiposity), but tended to be lower in LDR than SD, associated with lower food intake, Liveweight and body condition score. There was no evidence for a circadian rhythm of plasma leptin, but clear evidence for post-prandial peaks of low amplitude (15-36%) 2-8 h after meals given at normal and shifted times. Complete food deprivation caused a dramatic fail in plasma leptin to basal levels within 24 h. There was a positive association of plasma leptin with plasma insulin, and negative association with NEFA, both between meals and during fasting. Thus, plasma leptin concentrations in sheep are sensitive to short-term changes in energy balance, as well as to long-term photoperiod-driven changes in food intake and adiposity.
- CIRCULATING LEPTIN