Leptin and long form of leptin receptor genes expression in the hypothalamus and pituitary during the luteal phase and early pregnancy in pigs

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2006 Mar;57(1):95-108.


Leptin is a polypeptide that plays a key role in the regulation of energy homeostasis and is also linked, among others, to mechanisms controlling reproductive processes. Data concerning the involvement of leptin in controlling reproductive functions at the level of hypothalamus and pituitary in the pig are limited. Therefore, in the present study, an expression of genes coding for leptin and long-form leptin receptor (Ob-Rb) was determined by a semiquantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the discrete areas of porcine hypothalamus (medial basal hypothalamus - MBH, preoptic area - POA, stalk median eminence - SME) and pituitary (anterior - AP and posterior/neural - NP parts) during the luteal phase of the cycle (days 10-12 and 14-16) and two early stages of pregnancy (days 14-16 and 30-32). Leptin gene expression in MBH was found to be higher in the mid- than in the late-luteal phase, whereas in other structures studied it remained unchanged during these periods. More pronounced differences were noted in expression of Ob-Rb gene, which was increased in MBH, AP and NP during the late-luteal phase in comparison to the mid-luteal one, whilst the relationship in the POA was reversed. In turn, during pregnancy, leptin gene expression in all tested areas of hypothalamus as well as Ob-Rb mRNA content in MBH were higher on days 30-32 than on days 14-16. In contrast, in the anterior pituitary, Ob-Rb gene expression was more pronounced on days 14-16 than during later stage of pregnancy. Comparison of leptin and Ob-Rb mRNA content in studied structures between the mid-luteal phase and days 14-16 of pregnancy revealed inhibition of leptin gene expression in almost all examined tissues (MBH, POA, SME, NP) during early pregnancy whereas Ob-Rb gene expression was inhibited in POA but stimulated in both parts of the pituitary during this stage. In summary, obtained results suggest an involvement of leptin in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary axis activity during both the luteal phase of the cycle and early pregnancy in pigs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism*
  • Leptin / genetics
  • Leptin / metabolism*
  • Luteal Phase / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Swine


  • Leptin
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Leptin