Moderate caloric restriction, but not physiological hyperleptinemia per se, enhances mitochondrial oxidative capacity in rat liver and skeletal muscle--tissue-specific impact on tissue triglyceride content and AKT activation

Endocrinology. 2005 Apr;146(4):2098-106. doi: 10.1210/en.2004-1396. Epub 2004 Dec 23.


The study aimed at determining, in lean tissues from nonobese rats, whether physiological hyperleptinemia with leptin-induced reduced caloric intake and/or calorie restriction (CR) per se: 1) enhance mitochondrial-energy metabolism gene transcript levels and oxidative capacity; and 2) reduce triglyceride content. Liver and skeletal muscles were collected from 6-month-old Fischer 344 rats after 1-wk leptin sc infusion (0.4 mg/kg . d: leptin + approximately 3-fold leptinemia vs. ad libitum-fed control) or moderate CR (-26% of those fed ad libitum) in pair-fed animals (CR). After 1 wk: 1) leptin and CR comparably enhanced transcriptional expression of mixed muscle mitochondrial genes (P < 0.05 vs. control); 2) CR independently increased (P < 0.05 vs. leptin-control) hepatic mitochondrial-lipooxidative gene expression and oxidative capacity; 3) hepatic but not muscle mitochondrial effects of CR were associated (P < 0.01) with increased activated insulin signaling at AKT level (P < 0.05 vs. leptin-control); 4) liver and muscle triglyceride content were comparable in all groups. In additional experiments, assessing time course of posttranscriptional CR effects, 3-wk superimposable CR (P < 0.05): 1) increased both liver and muscle mitochondrial oxidative capacity; and 2) selectively reduced muscle triglyceride content. Thus, in nonobese adult rat: 1) moderate CR induces early increments of mitochondrial-lipooxidative gene expression and time-dependent increments of oxidative capacity in liver and mixed muscle; 2) sustained moderate CR alters tissue lipid distribution reducing muscle but not liver triglycerides; 3) mitochondrial-lipid metabolism changes are tissue-specifically associated with hepatic AKT activation; 4) short-term physiological hyperleptinemia has no independent stimulatory effects on muscle and liver mitochondrial-lipooxidative gene expression. Increased lean tissue oxidative capacity could favor substrate oxidation over storage during reduced nutrient availability.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Caloric Restriction*
  • Eating
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Liver / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Triglycerides / analysis*


  • Leptin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Akt1 protein, rat
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt