Leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone that directly regulates both adiposity and energy homeostasis, decreases food intake and appears to partition metabolic fuels toward utilization and away from storage. Because skeletal muscle expresses the leptin receptor and plays a major role in determining energy metabolism, we studied leptin's effects on glucose and fatty acid (FA) metabolism in isolated mouse soleus and extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles. One muscle from each animal served as a basal control. The contralateral muscle was treated with insulin (10 mU/ml), leptin (0.01–10 μg/ml), or insulin plus leptin, and incorporation of [14C]glucose or [14C]oleate into CO2 and into either glycogen or triacylglycerol (TAG) was determined. Leptin increased soleus muscle FA oxidation by 42% (P < 0.001) and decreased incorporation of FA into TAG by 35% (P < 0.01) in a dose-dependent manner. In contrast, insulin decreased soleus muscle FA oxidation by 40% (P < 0.001) and increased incorporation into TAG by 70% (P < 0.001). When both hormones were present, leptin attenuated both the antioxidative and the lipogenic effects of insulin by 50%. Less pronounced hormone effects were observed in EDL muscle. Leptin did not alter insulin-stimulated muscle glucose metabolism. These data demonstrate that leptin has direct and acute effects on skeletal muscle.

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