Leptin levels and body composition of mice selectively bred for high voluntary locomotor activity

Physiol Biochem Zool. Nov-Dec 2007;80(6):568-79. doi: 10.1086/521086. Epub 2007 Aug 31.


Selective breeding produced four replicate lines of high-runner (HR) mice that run on wheels for approximately 2.7 times more revolutions per day than four unselected control lines. Previous studies found that HR mice of both sexes have lower body fat (isotope dilution at 15 wk of age) and that males (females not studied) have smaller retroperitoneal fat pads (17 wk). HR mice also exhibit elevated plasma corticosterone and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by some hindlimb muscles but apparently do not differ in circulating insulin or glucose levels (males at 18 wk). Given their lower body fat and higher activity levels, we hypothesized that HR mice would have lower circulating leptin levels than controls. Female mice were given wheel access for 6 d at 7 wk of age, as part of the routine wheel testing for the selective breeding protocol, and then were killed after one additional week without wheels to reduce possible acute effects of activity on leptin. As hypothesized, serum leptin levels were significantly lower in HR mice. ANCOVA indicated that leptin was strongly positively correlated with both total body fat (measured by ether extraction) and body mass change from weaning, but HR mice still had significantly lower adjusted leptin levels (ANCOVA). Within HR lines but not within control lines, individual variation in leptin levels was negatively correlated with amount or speed of wheel running measured a week before being killed. Growth from weaning to euthanasia and body dry mass were lower in HR mice than in controls, but absolute dry masses of the ventricles, liver, gut, and uterus plus ovaries did not significantly differ, nor did percentage of the total dry mass as fat. HR mice offer a novel model for studying the causes and consequences of physiologically relevant variations in serum leptin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Composition / genetics
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Weight
  • Breeding
  • Female
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Mice
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*


  • Leptin