Hyperleptinemia During Pregnancy Decreases Adult Weight of Offspring and Is Associated With Increased Offspring Locomotor Activity in Mice

Endocrinology. 2015 Oct;156(10):3777-90. doi: 10.1210/en.2015-1247. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Pregnant women who are obese or have gestational diabetes mellitus have elevated leptin levels and their children have an increased risk for child and adult obesity. The goals of this study were to determine whether offspring weights are altered by maternal hyperleptinemia, and whether this occurs via behavioral changes that influence energy balance. We used 2 hyperleptinemic mouse models. The first was females heterozygous for a leptin receptor mutation (DB/+), which were severely hyperleptinemic, and that were compared with wild-type females. The second model was wild-type females infused with leptin (LEP), which were moderately hyperleptinemic, and were compared with wild-type females infused with saline (SAL). Total food consumption, food preference, locomotor activity, coordinated motor skills, and anxiety-like behaviors were assessed in wild-type offspring from each maternal group at 3 postnatal ages: 4-6, 11-13, and 19-21 weeks. Half the offspring from each group were then placed on a high-fat diet, and behaviors were reassessed. Adult offspring from both groups of hyperleptinemic dams weighed less than their respective controls beginning at 23 weeks of age, independent of diet or sex. Weight differences were not explained by food consumption or preference, because female offspring from hyperleptinemic dams tended to consume more food and had reduced preference for palatable, high-fat and sugar, food compared with controls. Offspring from DB/+ dams were more active than offspring of controls, as were female offspring of LEP dams. Maternal hyperleptinemia during pregnancy did not predispose offspring to obesity, and in fact, reduced weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Eating / genetics
  • Exploratory Behavior / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Leptin / blood*
  • Leptin / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Diseases / blood
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Motor Activity / genetics
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / blood
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology*
  • Receptors, Leptin / genetics
  • Receptors, Leptin / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors


  • Leptin
  • Receptors, Leptin