Incorporation of 2.5 g/kg of the anorexigen, simmondsin, in the diet resulted in food intake reduction in both lean and obese Zucker rats; however, the obese rats were much more sensitive to the food intake-reducing activity of simmondsin. In both obese and lean simmondsin-treated Zucker rats, growth was slower than in control rats, but was the same as that in pair-fed animals. The 24 h heat production pattern showed a smaller diurnal variation and a lower mean in obese rats than in lean rats. Food intake reduction, as a result of either simmondsin treatment or pair feeding, caused a decrease in mean heat production. Simmondsin treatment, but not pair feeding, caused a decrease in the diurnal variation of heat production. Plasma total cholesterol levels were increased in both simmondsin-treated and pair-fed obese and lean Zucker rats compared with control animals; this increase was mainly due to an increase in HDL-cholesterol levels. Blood leptin levels in both obese and lean rats decreased with decreased food intake and decreased fat deposition, but in obese rats, simmondsin treatment resulted in an additional decrease in leptin levels. It is concluded that the food intake-reducing effect of simmondsin is more pronounced in obese Zucker rats than in their lean littermates, and except for the simmondsin-specific effects on leptin and total cholesterol values in obese littermates, the effects of simmondsin are related to food intake restriction in obese and lean Zucker rats.