Leptin attenuates respiratory complications associated with the obese phenotype

J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Dec;85(6):2261-9. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1998.85.6.2261.


A profile of respiratory complications has been associated with the onset and development of obesity in humans. Similar phenotypes have been routinely demonstrated in genetic animal models of obesity such as the ob mouse (C57BL/6J-Lepob). The objective of the present study was to test the hypothesis that a constellation of respiratory complications are attenuated with leptin (i.e., protein product of the ob gene) replacement. Daily leptin administration during a 6-wk period was conducted to control body weight of mutant ob mice similar to genotypic control groups. During the treatment period, repeated baseline ventilatory measurements were assessed by using whole body plethysmography while quasistatic pressure-volume curves were performed to further explore the role of leptin in improving lung mechanics. Diaphragmatic myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform phenotype was examined to determine proportional changes in MHC composition. In room air, breathing frequency and minute ventilation were significantly (P < 0.01) different among ob treatment groups, suggesting that leptin opposed the development of a rapid breathing pattern observed in vehicle-treated ob mice. Quasistatic deflation curves indicated that the lung volume of leptin-treated ob mice was significantly (P < 0.05) greater relative to vehicle-treated ob mice at airway pressures between 0 and 30 cmH2O. Diaphragm MHC composition of leptin-treated ob mice was restored significantly (P < 0.05) to resemble the control phenotype. In this genetic mouse model of obesity, the results suggested that respiratory complications associated with the obese phenotype, including rapid breathing pattern at baseline, diminished lung compliance, and abnormal respiratory muscle adaptations, are attenuated with prolonged leptin treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diaphragm / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leptin
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Models, Biological
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Phenotype
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Respiratory Mechanics / drug effects
  • Respiratory Muscles / drug effects
  • Respiratory Muscles / physiopathology
  • Respiratory System / drug effects*
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology*


  • Leptin
  • Proteins
  • Myosin Heavy Chains