Desensitization of leptin receptors is coincident with the upregulation of dopamine-related genes in the prefrontal cortex of adolescent mice

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Abstract

We have investigated in adolescent mice the effect of subchronic leptin on (i) leptin receptor expression and functionality, and (ii) dopamine-related gene expression (tyrosine hydroxylase, Th; dopamine type-1 receptor, Drd1; dopamine type-2 receptor, Drd2) within the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which is involved in sensory perception of food and reward sensitivity, and the hippocampus, a brain area sensitive to food composition and pivotal in learning and memory processes related to feeding behaviour. Here, we show that leptin treatment triggered leptin resistance both in the hippocampus and in the PFC. In contrast, leptin induced the upregulation of dopamine-related genes in the PFC, whereas it failed to modify the expression of these genes in the hippocampus. The effect of leptin was similar irrespective of the time elapsed since the last leptin administration (either 2 or 14 h), indicating that the effect detected was not associated with leptin withdrawal. Our data show that leptin receptor desensitization is coincident with the upregulation of dopamine-related genes in the PFC of adolescent mice undergoing hyperleptinaemia triggered by exogenous leptin.

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