Hypothalamic Suppressor-of-Cytokine-Signalling 3 mRNA is Elevated and Pro-Opiomelanocortin mRNA is Reduced During Pregnancy in Brandt's Voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii)

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Leptin acts within the hypothalamus to diminish food intake. In Brandt's voles (Lasiopodomys brandtii), both circulating leptin levels and food intake are elevated during pregnancy, suggesting an ineffectiveness of leptin to reduce food intake. Diminished hypothalamic leptin receptors and impaired leptin signal transduction are characteristic of central leptin resistance. The present study aimed to determine whether these characteristic modulations of leptin sensitivity occurred in pregnant Brandt's voles. The mRNA expression of the long form of the leptin receptor (Ob-Rb), suppressor-of-cytokine-signalling 3 (SOCS3), neuropeptide Y (NPY), agouti-related protein (AgRP), pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART) in the hypothalamus were examined on dioestrous, day 5, day 10 and day 18 of pregnancy. Compared to controls, there was no significant change in hypothalamic Ob-Rb mRNA during the pregnancy. SOCS3 mRNA was increased significantly by 68% on day 10% and 93% on day 18 of pregnancy compared to controls. Despite elevated leptin levels, POMC mRNA was decreased significantly by 60% on day 18 of pregnancy, whereas no differences were found in the mRNA expression of NPY, AgRP and CART in pregnant voles compared to controls. The elevation of SOCS3 mRNA together with disrupted leptin regulation of neuropeptides in the hypothalamus suggests that leptin resistance may develop in pregnant Brandt's voles.

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