Chronic CNS-mediated cardiometabolic actions of leptin: Potential role of sex differences

Alexandre A. Da Silva, Mark A. Pinkerton, Frank T. Spradley, Ana C. Palei, John E. Hall, Jussara M. do Carmo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Previous studies using male rodents showed the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin acts in the brain to regulate cardiovascular function, energy balance, and glucose homeostasis. The importance of sex differences in cardiometabolic responses to leptin, however, is still unclear. We examined potential sex differences in leptin's chronic central nervous system (CNS)-mediated actions on blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), appetite, and glucose homeostasis in normal and type 1 diabetic rats. Female and male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats were instrumented with intracerebroventricular cannulas for continuous 7-day leptin infusion (15 mg/day), and BP and HR were measured by telemetry 24 h/day. At baseline, females had lower mean arterial pressure (MAP) (96 ± 3 vs. 104 ± 4 mmHg, P < 0.05) but higher HR (375 ± 5 vs. 335 ± 5 beats/min, P < 0.05) compared with males. After leptin treatment, we observed similar increases in BP (∼3 mmHg) and HR (∼25 beats/min) in both sexes. Females had significantly lower body weight (BW, 283 ± 2 vs. 417 ± 7 g, P < 0.05) and caloric intake (162 ± 20 vs. 192 ± 9 kcal/kg of body wt, P < 0.05) compared with males, and leptin infusion reduced BW (-10%) and caloric intake (-62%) similarly in both sexes. In rats with streptozotocin- induced diabetes (n = 5/sex), intracerebroventricular leptin treatment for 7 days completely normalized glucose levels. The same dose of leptin administered intraperitoneally did not alter MAP, HR, glucose levels, or caloric intake in normal or diabetic rats. These results show that leptin's CNS effects on BP, HR, glucose regulation, and energy homeostasis are similar in male and female rats. Therefore, our results provide no evidence for sex differences in leptin's brain-mediated cardiovascular or metabolic actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Food intake
  • Glucose
  • Heart rate


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