The obese (ob) gene encodes a fat cell-derived circulating satiety factor (leptin) that is involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis. In the present study, we examined effects of i.c.v. injection of recombinant human leptin on food intake and body weight gain in rats. We also studied effects of direct microinjections of leptin into the arcuate nucleus (Arc), ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and lateral hypothalamus (LH). A single i.c.v. injection of recombinant human leptin (0.25-2.0 μg/rat) reduced significantly and dose-dependently food intake and body weight gain in rats. Microinjections (0.125-0.5 μg/site) into the bilateral Arc, VMH, and LH caused dose-related decreases in food intake and body weight gain as compared with vehicle-treated groups with a rank order of potency; Arc > VMH = LH. The present study provides the first direct evidence that the Arc is a primary site of satiety effect of leptin.
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