Leptin treatment rescues the sterility of genetically obese ob/ob males

Endocrinology. 1997 Mar;138(3):1190-3. doi: 10.1210/endo.138.3.5024.


Leptin, a hormone secreted from white adipose tissue, has been shown to normalize the body weight of ob/ob but not db/db mice as postulated by Coleman in his classical parabiosis experiments. The major effect of leptin is therefore to decrease food intake, thus resulting in a breakdown of fat stores. Recently, we have suggested that leptin plays a role in reproductive physiology based on the observation that leptin treatment but not food restriction rescues the sterility of ob/ob females. In the present communication, we treated sterile ob/ob males with leptin and asked whether fertility could be induced, thus selecting their reproductive ability as the endpoint of the experiment. Our results show that all food-restricted ob/ob males are unable to impregnate normal C57BL/6J females. However, all leptin-treated ob/ob males fertilized normal females mice that carried out normal pregnancies and deliveries, demonstrating that the reproductive capacity of ob/ob males was corrected only with leptin treatment. Furthermore, reproductive indices such as testicular weight and histology are normalized in leptin-treated animals. Therefore, as in ob/ob females, leptin plays a significant role in the male mouse reproductive pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Infertility*
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Testis / pathology


  • Leptin
  • Proteins