Sensitivity to the anorectic effects of leptin is retained in rats maintained on a ketogenic diet despite increased adiposity

Kimberly P. Kinzig, Mary Ann Honors, Sara L. Hargrave, Brandon M. Davenport, April D. Strader, Donna Wendt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Rats maintained on a ketogenic diet (KD; 80% fat, 15% protein, 5% carbohydrate) have increased adiposity and leptin as compared to chow-fed controls (CH; 16% fat, 19% protein, 65% carbohydrate), although body weights and daily caloric intakes do not differ. Methods: Rats maintained on a KD or CH were assessed for responsivity to intraperitoneal (i.p.) or intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) leptin. Hypothalamic gene expression was evaluated to determine the effects of KD on proopiomelanocortin (POMC) mRNA expression and components of the leptin-signaling system. Results: Caloric intake by KD rats was decreased at a lower dose of i.p. leptin (100 μg) than was required to reduce intake by CH rats (leptin, caloric intake was reduced in KD rats as compared to intake following i.p. saline; p < 0.05). In a separate experiment to evaluate responsivity to i.c.v. leptin, the minimal dose of leptin required to significantly reduce 24-hour caloric intake did not differ between the groups. In the arcuate nucleus, POMC mRNA was elevated after a lower dose of i.c.v. leptin in KD rats (5 μg) than was required to increase POMC mRNA expression in CH rats (15 μg) or reduce caloric intake in either group. Finally, evaluation of the level of phosphorylated STAT3 (pSTAT3) in the arcuate and SOCS3 mRNA in the hypothalamus revealed significantly more pSTAT3-positive cells and increased SOCS3 mRNA expression at baseline for KD rats, compared to CH, neither of which was further increased following i.p. leptin administration. Conclusion: These data demonstrate that despite increased adiposity, leptin and markers of leptin resistance, responsivity to the anorectic effects of exogenous leptin is retainable during maintenance on a KD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-111
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Arcuate nucleus
  • Energy balance
  • Leptin
  • Obesity


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