Prevention of diet-induced obesity and impaired glucose tolerance in rats following administration of leptin to their mothers

Claire J. Stocker, Ed Wargent, Jacqueline O'Dowd, Claire Cornick, John R. Speakman, Jonathan R. S. Arch, Michael A. Cawthorne

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Absence of leptin is known to disrupt the development of energy balance regulatory mechanisms. We investigated whether administration of leptin to normally nourished rats affects energy balance in their offspring. Leptin (2 was administered from day 14 of pregnancy and throughout lactation. Male and female offspring were fed either on chow or on high-fat diets that elicited similar levels of obesity in the sexes from 6 wk to 15 mo of age. Treatment of the dams with leptin prevented diet-induced increases in the rate of weight gain, retroperitoneal fat pad weight, area under the intraperitoneal glucose tolerance curve, and fasting plasma insulin concentration in female offspring. In the male offspring, the diet-induced increase in weight gain was prevented and increased fat pad weight was reduced. Energy intake per rat was higher in response to the obesogenic diet in male offspring of saline-treated but not leptin-treated dams. A similar trend was seen in 3-mo-old female offspring. Energy expenditure at 3 mo of age was higher for a given body weight in female offspring of leptin-treated compared with saline-treated dams when these animals were fed on the obesogenic diet. A similar trend was seen for male rats fed on the obesogenic diet. Thus leptin levels during pregnancy and lactation can affect the development of energy balance regulatory systems in their offspring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R1810-R1818
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
Early online date18 Jan 2007
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • additional energy balance
  • energy expenditure
  • catch-up growth
  • low-birth-weight
  • body-weight
  • food-intake
  • insulin-resistance
  • maternal smoking
  • arcuate nucleus
  • breast-milk
  • lactation
  • metabolism

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