Leptin is a hormone involved in feeding and body weight regulation in vertebrates, but the relationship between energy status and leptin has not been clearly established in fish. The aim of this study was to investigate in a teleost, the goldfish (Carassius auratus), the tissue expression pattern of two leptins (gLep-aI and gLep-aII) and leptin receptor (gLepR); and the effect of feeding on expression of these genes. Leptin system expression in goldfish was firstly analyzed in fish under overfeeding (2 weeks) or fasting (1 week), and secondly, at different postfeeding times (0, 3, 6, 9 and 12h). Goldfish has two Lep-a paralog genes, gLep-aI was widely expressed in central and peripheral tissues, whereas gLep-aII was preferentially expressed in brain. This different distribution pattern of leptins suggests that they can play different physiological roles in goldfish. The gLepR mRNA was ubiquitous expressed, with the highest expression in the telencephalon and hypothalamus. No significant differences in the leptin system expression were found among control, overfed and fasting groups, suggesting an apparent lack of correlation between nutritional status and leptin system in goldfish. Hepatic expression of gLep-aI significantly increased 9h after feeding time, while hypothalamic leptin system expression did not change after feeding. In summary, leptin in goldfish could signal short-term changes in food intake, as postprandial satiety, but seems to be independent of fasting/overfeeding conditions in this teleost. The widespread distribution of leptins and leptin receptor in goldfish strongly supports that this hormone may have pleitropic actions in fish.
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