Postnatal development of the ob gene system: elevated leptin levels in suckling fa/fa rats

D V Rayner, G D Dalgliesh, Jacqueline S. Duncan, L. J. Hardie, Nigel Hoggard, P Trayhurn

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100 Citations (Scopus)


The postnatal development of the ob gene system has been examined in Zucker fa/fa and +/fa plus +/+ (referred to as +/?) rats. White adipose tissue was taken from animals aged 1 to 28 days. Before weaning, white fat was predominantly subcutaneous, the amount increasing rapidly after birth. ob mRNA was detected by Northern blotting in samples of inguinal fat at 1 day of age and thereafter. Circulating leptin, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, was also detectable from 1 day of age, the level rising to a peak by 10 days of age and then declining. The fa/fa genotype was determined from the size of the product after Msp I digestion of the Ob-receptor gene obtained by polymerase chain reaction amplification of genomic DNA. No statistically significant difference in ob mRNA level between fa/fa and +/? animals was obtained before 25 days of age. However, leptin levels were significantly higher in the fa/fa mutant by 10 days of age, despite the absence of any significant elevation in the weight of the major fat depots or in ob mRNA level. It is concluded that the ob gene is expressed and leptin produced early in postnatal life in rats; the elevation of circulating leptin in suckling fa/fa animals indicates that dysregulation of the leptin system occurs before the overt development of the obese phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R446-R450
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1997


  • Adipose Tissue
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Body Weight
  • DNA Primers
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genotype
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Obesity
  • Organ Size
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rats
  • Rats, Zucker
  • Transcription, Genetic


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