Leptin and host defense against Gram-positive and Gram-negative pneumonia in mice

Shock. 2006 Apr;25(4):414-9. doi: 10.1097/01.shk.0000209524.12873.da.


Leptin is a pleiotrophic protein mainly produced by adipocytes that has been implicated as a link between nutritional status and immune function. Severe bacterial infection is associated with elevated plasma levels of leptin. To determine the role of leptin in the host response to bacterial pneumonia leptin deficient ob/ob mice and normal wild-type (WT) mice were intranasally infected with different doses of the Gram-positive pathogen Streptococcus (S.) pneumoniae or the Gram-negative bacterium Klebsiella (K.) pneumoniae. After infection with lower doses of either pathogen ob/ob mice displayed lower pulmonary levels of proinflammatory cytokines, in particular tumor necrosis factor-alpha and chemokines. However, after infection with a higher dose of S. pneumoniae or K. pneumoniae the lung concentrations of these inflammatory mediators did not differ between ob/ob and WT mice. In addition, the extent and severity of lung inflammation, as assessed by semi-quantitative histopathology scores, were similar in both mouse strains. Finally, leptin deficiency did not impact on the bacterial outgrowth in the lungs during either Gram-positive or Gram-negative pneumonia irrespective of the infective dose. These data suggest that although leptin may play a modest role in the regulation of inflammation during bacterial pneumonia, it does not contribute to host defense mechanisms that act to limit the outgrowth of S. pneumoniae or K. pneumoniae in the lower airways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Immunity / physiology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Klebsiella Infections / immunology*
  • Klebsiella Infections / metabolism
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae / immunology*
  • Leptin / deficiency
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / immunology*
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / metabolism
  • Pneumonia, Pneumococcal / pathology


  • Leptin