We present the first evidence that suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3), a protein inhibiting Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription ( STAT) signaling distal of the leptin receptor, conveys seasonal changes in leptin sensitivity in the Siberian hamster. Food deprivation ( 48 h) reduced SOCS3 gene expression in hamsters acclimated to either long (LD) or short (SD) photoperiods, suggesting that leptin signals acute starvation regardless of photoperiod. However, SOCS3 mRNA levels were substantially lower in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus of hamsters acclimated to SD than in those raised in LD. In juveniles raised in LD, a rapid increase in SOCS3 mRNA was observed within 4 d of weaning, which was completely prevented by transfer to SD on the day of weaning. The early increase in SOCS3 gene expression in juvenile hamsters in LD clearly preceded the establishment of different body weight trajectories in LD and SD. In adult LD hamsters, SOCS3 mRNA was maintained at an elevated level despite the chronic food restriction imposed to lower body weight and serum leptin to or even below SD levels. A single injection of leptin in SD hamsters elevated SOCS3 mRNA to LD levels, whereas leptin treatment had no effect on SOCS3 gene expression in LD hamsters. Our results suggest that the development of leptin resistance in LD-acclimated hamsters involves SOCS3-mediated suppression of leptin signaling in the arcuate nucleus. Increased SOCS3 expression in LD hamsters is independent of body fat and serum leptin levels, suggesting that the photoperiod is able to trigger the biannual reversible switch in leptin sensitivity.