Leptin Gene Expression and Serum Leptin Levels in Zinc Deficiency: Implications for Appetite Regulation in Rats

Soo Lim Lee, Eun Hee Kwak, Yang Ha Kim, Je Yong Choi, Soon Tae Kwon, John H. Beattie, In Sook Kwun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Zinc deficiency in animals causes impaired growth and anorexia, and the mechanisms for these symptoms of zinc deficiency are not yet clear. We investigated whether circulating leptin levels and gene expression would be dysregulated under zinc deficiency and what would be the implications for appetite in rats. In study 1, 24 Sprague-Dawley rats were provided consecutively with three different dietary zinc intake levels: Zn-adequate (30 mg/kg of diet), Zn-depleted (1 mg/kg of diet), and Zn-replete (50 mg/kg of diet), for 1, 2, and 2 weeks, respectively. At the end of each dietary period, one-third of the rats were killed. In study 2, rats were assigned to one of the four Zn diet groups: Zn-adequate (30 mg/kg of diet), pair-fed (30 mg/kg of diet), Zn-deficient (1 mg/kg of diet), or Zn-sufficient (50 mg/kg of diet), and were fed for 4 weeks. Tissue Zn and serum leptin were measured, and leptin gene expression in adipose tissues (inguinal and abdominal) was determined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and northern blotting. Blood subfractions as plasma, red blood cells, and mononuclear cells and liver Zn level were decreased during the Zn-depletion period (P < .05). Serum leptin showed a tendency to increase during the Zn-depletion period and decreased back to the level of the Zn-repletion period. Leptin mRNA levels in inguinal adipocytes also increased during the Zn-depletion (P < .05) and Zn-deficient periods, which is consistent with the change in serum leptin. However, the decrease in leptin mRNA in abdominal adipocytes was not consistent with the increase in inguinal leptin levels and the change in serum leptin. Increased leptin levels in linguinal adipocytes is consistent with the expected physiological change of a decrease in appetite under Zn deficiency. However, before coming to any firm conclusion, further studies on adipose tissue-specific leptin expression, including the appetite-related neuropeptides, are necessary for clarifying the cause of lower appetite in zinc deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-289
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medicinal Food
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Adipose tissue
  • Appetite
  • Leptin level
  • Leptin mRNA
  • Zinc deficiency


Dive into the research topics of 'Leptin Gene Expression and Serum Leptin Levels in Zinc Deficiency: Implications for Appetite Regulation in Rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this