Neurochemical Research

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 407–413 | Cite as

Differential Effects of Undernourishment and Nutritional Rehabilitation on Serum Leptin Levels in Male and Female Rats

  • Helena Pinos
  • Esperanza Ortega
  • Beatriz Carrillo
  • Mari Ángeles Pérez-Izquierdo
  • Paloma Collado
Original Paper


Leptin, a peptide hormone, is secreted by adipose tissue and is crucial to the regulation of feeding behaviour. The present study has shown that both male and female rats which have been undernourished since day six of gestation, show significantly decreased serum leptin levels on postnatal day 12; but when undernourishment continues into adulthood, only males continue to show decreased leptin levels. If nutritional rehabilitation is implemented early enough in males, serum leptin levels recover and nearly reach levels found in control adult males. Undernutrition also has a long term effect on body weight in both sexes, but nutritional rehabilitation leads to some degree of body weight recovery varying with sex and the age at which rehabilitation was implemented. Undernutrition seems to affect different developmental processes in males than in females, with males being more vulnerable than females in so far as long-term effects on serum leptin levels.


Undernourishment Nutritional rehabilitation Leptin Body weight Sex differences Rat 



The present work was supported by DGICYT grant: BSO2003–2526 (PC). We are grateful to Mr. L. Troca, Mr. L. Carrillo, Mr. A. Marcos and Mr. G. Moreno for their technical assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Pinos
    • 1
  • Esperanza Ortega
    • 2
  • Beatriz Carrillo
    • 1
  • Mari Ángeles Pérez-Izquierdo
    • 1
  • Paloma Collado
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de PsicobiologíaUniversidad Nacional de Educación a DistanciaMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyFaculty of Medicine, University of GranadaGranadaSpain

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