The present study was conducted to determine if peripheral leptin administration can alter GH secretion or feed intake in young pigs. Six, 6 kg female pigs were fasted overnight and randomly chosen to receive porcine recombinant leptin or saline injections in a crossover design. Three leptin dosages were tested over a 10 day period, 100, 200 or 500 microg/kg body mass (L100, L200 or L500). Leptin was administered in 0.2% bovine serum albumin as a bolus injection into the carotid artery. Blood samples were obtained from the jugular vein over a 24 h period. Leptin delayed feeding in pigs treated with L200 and L500 (P<0.05), while reducing overall intake in pigs treated with L100 (P<0.05). L200 or L500 depressed blood glucose (P<0.05). Plasma insulin levels were elevated by feeding in control animals, while insulin levels were depressed in pigs treated with L200 or L500 (P<0.05). L200 elevated plasma growth hormone (P<0.05) with three peaks apparent at 5, 8, and 13 h post injection. The ability for a single injection of leptin to produce significant changes in hormone and metabolite levels suggests that this peptide has a role in regulation of peripheral metabolism.