Leptin Gene Expression in Rabbits During Pregnancy and Fetal Life

Doaa Kirat, Nora E. Abdel Hamid, Wafaa E. Mohamed, Mohamed Hamada, Shimaa I. Shalaby


Leptin may act as the critical link between adipose tissue and reproduction. Although considerable progress has been achieved in understanding the reproductive actions of leptin, much work is needed for understanding its physiological role. Till now, no data has been published about the distribution and expression levels of leptin in the rabbit maternal adipose tissue, placenta, and various fetal rabbit tissues during pregnancy and postpartum. Our results indicated that circulating leptin levels in rabbit serum during pregnancy were significantly higher than in postpartum and non pregnant rabbits. Furthermore, leptin showed positive correlations with body weight and estrogen and negative correlation with progesterone in pregnant and postpartum rabbits. RT-PCR verified the presence of RNAs encoding leptin in the rabbit maternal perirenal adipose tissue, placenta, and several fetal tissues; including brain, liver, adipose tissue, and bone. The relative abundance of leptin RNA in rabbit maternal adipose was significantly higher at 20th day of pregnancy than that of non pregnant rabbits, while it was significantly decreased at 2nd day after parturition. No significant changes in the placental leptin RNA levels were noticed in pregnant rabbits at 10th, 20th, and 30th day of pregnancy. The relative abundance of fetal leptin transcripts at day 30th of pregnancy was in the order of liver> bone ? adipose tissue > brain. The present study provides new evidence for the distribution and expression levels of leptin in the rabbit maternal and fetal tissues during pregnancy and supports the importance of leptin in reproductive physiology and fetal development.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijb.v7n2p113

International Journal of Biology   ISSN 1916-9671(Print)   ISSN 1916-968X  (Online)

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