Continuous (4 days) intracerebroventricular leptin infusion (12 microg/day) was performed in lean rats, and its hormonometabolic effects were determined. Intracerebroventricular leptin administration did not result in leakage of the hormone into the peripheral circulation. Thus, its effects were elicited by its presence within the central nervous system. Intracerebroventricular leptin infusion produced marked decreases in food intake and body weight gain relative to vehicle-infused fed ad libitum rats. Because decreases in food intake alter hormonometabolic homeostasis, additional control rats pair-fed to the amount of food consumed by leptin-infused ones were included in the study. Intracerebroventricular leptin-infused and vehicle-infused pair-fed rats were characterized, relative to vehicle-infused ad libitum-fed animals, by decreases in body weight and insulinemia and by increases in insulin-stimulated overall glucose utilization and muscle and brown adipose tissue glucose utilization index. Brown adipose tissue uncoupling protein (UCP)1, UCP2, and UCP3 mRNA levels were markedly decreased in pair-fed animals relative to those of fed ad libitum control animals, as were liver and white adipose tissue UCP2 and muscle UCP3 mRNA levels. In marked contrast, intracerebroventricular leptin administration was accompanied by the maintenance of high UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3 expression in all these tissues. Thus, despite analogies between leptin's effects and those of pair-feeding with regard to glucose handling, their respective underlying mechanisms differ. While leptin maintains or favors energy-dissipating mechanisms (UCP1, UCP2, and UCP3), the latter are markedly depressed in pair-fed rats. This effect of leptin may prevent subsequent excessive storage processes, thereby maintaining normal body homeostasis.

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