Neuregulin 1 affects leptin levels, food intake and weight gain in normal-weight, but not obese, db/db mice

Diabetes Metab. 2015 Apr;41(2):168-72. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2014.12.002. Epub 2015 Jan 5.


Aim: Studies in vitro have highlighted the potential involvement of neuregulin 1 (NRG1) in the regulation of energy metabolism. This effect has also been suggested in vivo, as intracerebroventricular injection of NRG1 reduces food intakes and weight gain in rodents. Thus, it was hypothesised that NRG1 might affect serum leptin levels in mice.

Methods: Weight, food intakes, energy expenditure, spontaneous physical activity and serum leptin levels were evaluated in normal-weight C57BL/6JRJ mice following intraperitoneal administration of NRG1 (50 μg/kg, three times/week) or saline for 8 weeks. Based on the results of this first experiment, leptin-resistant obese db/db mice were then given NRG1 for 8 weeks.

Results: Leptin serum concentrations were six times higher in C57BL/6JRJ mice treated with NRG1 than in the animals given saline. NRG1 treatment also reduced weight gain by 10% and food intakes by 15% compared with saline treatment, while energy expenditure remained unchanged. In db/db mice, serum leptin concentrations, weight gain, food intakes, energy expenditure and spontaneous physical activity were not altered by NRG1 treatment.

Conclusion: The decrease in food intakes and weight gain associated with NRG1 treatment in C57BL/6JRJ mice may be partly explained by increased leptin levels, whereas db/db mice were not affected by the treatment, suggesting resistance to NRG1 in this pathological state.

Keywords: Energy expenditure; NRG1; Obesity; Weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Insulin / blood
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Obese
  • Neuregulin-1 / pharmacology*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects*


  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Neuregulin-1