Leptin acts centrally to induce the prepubertal secretion of luteinizing hormone in the female rat. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent data generated from adult male and female rats indicates that leptin is capable of stimulating luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion via a hypothalamic action. Consequently, we hypothesized that this peptide may similarly play a role in controlling LH secretion during late juvenile and peripubertal development; hence, contributing to hypothalamic-pituitary function during sexual maturation. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine if leptin is capable of stimulating LH release during this critical time of development and, if so, to determine whether this action is due to an effect at the hypothalamic level. Results showed that leptin, when administered directly into the brain third ventricle (3V), can stimulate (P < 0. 01) LH release in late juvenile animals at doses of 0.01-1.0 microg. A higher dose of 10 microg was ineffective in stimulating LH release. Immunoneutralization of luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) via 3V administration of LHRH antiserum to late juvenile animals indicated a hypothalamic site of action, since the leptin-induced LH release was blocked in the animals that received anti-LHRH, but not in the control animals that received normal rabbit serum. Leptin did not significantly stimulate LH release from animals in first proestrus, estrus, or diestrus. We also report that the serum levels of leptin increase (P < 0.05) during the late juvenile period of development, then decrease (P < 0.05) once the animal enters the peripubertal period. Collectively, our results show that leptin is capable of acting centrally to stimulate LH release, but only during late juvenile development; thus, we suggest the peptide likely plays a facilitatory role on late juvenile LH secretion, but does not drive the LHRH/LH releasing system to first ovulation and hence, sexual maturity.

published proceedings

  • Peptides

author list (cited authors)

  • Dearth, R. K., Hiney, J. K., & Dees, W. L.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Dearth, RK||Hiney, JK||Dees, WL

publication date

  • March 2000