Leptin sensitizing effect of 1,3-butanediol and its potential mechanism

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 6;11(1):17691. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-96460-y.


Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that regulates appetite and energy expenditure via the hypothalamus. Since the majority of obese subjects are leptin resistant, leptin sensitizers, rather than leptin itself, are expected to be anti-obesity drugs. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the hypothalamus plays a key role in the pathogenesis of leptin resistance. ATP-deficient cells are vulnerable to ER stress and ATP treatment protects cells against ER stress. Thus, we investigated the therapeutic effects of oral 1,3-butanediol (BD) administration, which increases plasma β-hydroxybutyrate and hypothalamic ATP concentrations, in diet induced obese (DIO) mice with leptin resistance. BD treatment effectively decreased food intake and body weight in DIO mice. In contrast, BD treatment had no effect in leptin deficient ob/ob mice. Co-administration experiment demonstrated that BD treatment sensitizes leptin action in both DIO and ob/ob mice. We also demonstrated that BD treatment attenuates ER stress and leptin resistance at the hypothalamus level. This is the first report to confirm the leptin sensitizing effect of BD treatment in leptin resistant DIO mice. The present study provides collateral evidence suggesting that the effect of BD treatment is mediated by the elevation of hypothalamic ATP concentration. Ketone bodies and hypothalamic ATP are the potential target for the treatment of obesity and its complications.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Butylene Glycols / pharmacology*
  • Butylene Glycols / therapeutic use
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / drug effects*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Leptin / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Butylene Glycols
  • Leptin
  • 1,3-butylene glycol
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid