Leptin gene expression in the brain and pituitary gland

Endocrinology. 1999 Dec;140(12):5995-8. doi: 10.1210/endo.140.12.7288.


The adipocyte-derived hormone, leptin, and its receptor, are now known to be integral components of a physiological signalling system that regulates fuel stores and energy balance. Constitutive leptin expression has been demonstrated only in adipose tissue, placenta and stomach. We have used RT-PCR to show that leptin mRNA is selectively transcribed in specific areas of rat brain and pituitary, and in a rat glioblastoma cell line. Using immunocytochemistry we have also shown leptin protein immunoreactivity in the corresponding tissues and cells, and confirmed this by Western blot using two epitope-specific antisera. Leptin mRNA expression in the hypothalamus is suppressed by fasting (48hr), suggesting a role for brain leptin in the central regulation of appetite. These data support the hypothesis that central nervous system derived leptin is a likely ligand for central leptin receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Leptin / analysis
  • Leptin / genetics*
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Leptin
  • RNA, Messenger